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Diversifying Latin American Products According To Leonardo Gonzalez Dellan

Some countries consider Latin America as the food basket of the world. With huge arable land where various crops could grow, the area has been on the top of the list of the world’s producers. However, food and trade expert Leonardo Gonzalez Dellan believes that the region needs to improve the diversity of its products if Latin America it to remain on top.


Top Producer

According to Leonardo Gonzalez Dellan, Latin America has been one of the top producers of coffee, bananas, nuts, and soya. Soya is especially ranked higher because of its versatility. It could be used as feeds for animals that humans consume for their meat, but could also be processed to provide options for vegetarians and vegans. The fact that many people can consume soya makes it a highly valuable product.



Quinoa is starting to become a household name especially for those with strict nutritional diets or other special dietary needs. It is high in protein, which makes it an easy choice for many. But what sets it apart is that it is gluten-free. There are some people who suffer celiac disease, a condition where the person is sensitive to anything that contains gluten. When a person with celiac disease consumes gluten, they get an immune response in their small intestine. Quinoa is an easier alternative as it does not contain gluten, but still packs the essential amount of protein for one’s dietary needs.



Amaranth is another product that Mr. Dellan sees as a possible addition to the variety of pacts that Latin America can offer. One of the good things about amaranth is that it can grow even in bad soil. This means that the production of other products do not have to be affected if they want to produce amaranth, because it can thrive where other crops cannot. Amaranth can be ground to make flour, and it can be produced in large amounts, which could bolster the home baking market.



Lucuma is a fruit that grows in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. It is used as flavoring in ice cream and is also a nutritious alternative to sugar. It could provide another alternative for those who are looking for ingredients that can substitute sugar,

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Airbnb Partnering Up With Boutique Thai Resorts

It’ll be easier to book a boutique Kanchanaburi resort thanks to the newest partnership between the online hospitality giant Airbnb and the Thailand Boutique Accommodation Trade Association (TBAA). This joint coop, an industry-first, aims to promote creative, people-driven Thai hospitality, according to reports.

Via the partnership, Airbnb and the TBAA will be bringing boutique hotels to Airbnb’s global hospitality platform, which will connect them to its traveller network, whose international reach has led to it handling at least 300 million guest arrivals since its founding a decade ago.

This partnership included Airbnb signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the TBAA, making it the first travel platform to do so. It comes on the heels of the company’s recent partnership with Thailand’s Ministry of Interior’s Department of Local Administration to up-skill and enrol local homestays across Thailand’s provinces, all 76 of them.

Airbnb Country Manager for Southeast Asia, Mike Orgill, represented the company during the signing ceremony, launching the partnership alongside Advisor to the Thai Travel Agents Association and TBAA President, SuparerkSoorangura.

Thailand is one of the world’s biggest tourism destinations, which means that this partnership is good news for those looking for a Bangkok or a Kanchanaburi resort, as provides travellers from across the globe easy access to at least 50 boutique hotels across 15 provinces in the Kingdome, which include Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi and others.

According to the Memorandum, both parties agreed to and will be working on conducting training workshops for the TBAA’s members, with the goal of arming them with the needed know-how to use Airbnb, as well as the necessary digital skills for the creation, management and promotion of their own listings.

The collaboration hopes to empower the Thai boutique hospitality industry and its entrepreneurs with global hospitality standards, as well as promoting them and their creative design on a global market. Lastly, the MoU states that they would also work to revitalise local neighbourhoods by driving tourist arrivals beyond the more common and popular destinations.

Another part of the launch, was the announcement of the inaugural Airbnb and TBAA Thailand Neighbourhood Guide, which is a 17-page insider’s guide highlighting five under-the-radar neighbourhoods in the country, each with its unique blend of traditional heritage and creative spaces.

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Increase In Thailand’s Cigarette Tax Met With Uproar

A proposal to increase the price of cigarettes in Thailand by 1-2 baht per packet has been met with uproar, as many critics are saying that the increase in pricing will not actually accomplish its goals, which is to up the country’s Health Insurance Fund for the health insurance in Thailand as well as not actually getting many people to give up the habit.

Thailand’s Ministry of Finance are behind of the increase in taxing, of Bt1-2 per packet, with the aim of increasing the income of the Health Insurance Fund. On October 1, the Ministry proposed the increase, with its officials saying that it will learn to earnings of about Bt3 billion (US$92,600) annually.

Many are disagreeing with the proposal, like the officials at the Excise Department saying that the tax collected to benefit the Health Insurance Fund and the health insurance in Thailand should not only come from cigarettes alone, but from the sin tax, which also covers alcohol and alcoholic products.

Others argued that if the new tax on cigarettes was implemented, it would hit cigarette entrepreneurs, in particular the Tobacco Authority of Thailand. Back in Sept. 16, 2017, a cigarette tax was implement which cut down profits from 80% to 60%, which only gives 1 baht per pack, instead of 7 baht.

Back in 2017, the Tobacco Authority of Thailand made Bt9 billion in profit, but that may drop by Bt1 billion in 2018, and they might not make a profit in 2019, which may lead to tobacco farmers suffering. According to their officials say that, currently, the tax on cigarettes sat at 1.20 baht per cigarette and 20% of the price of cigarettes, never over 60 baht. Meanwhile, cigarettes that sell for more than 60 baht a pack are taxed by 40%.

Thailand joined the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control back in 2005, banning smoking in indoor public places, workplaces, public transport, and outdoor areas like exercise facilities, public parks, amusement parks, as well as children’s playgrounds and markets.

However, based on the price of the worldwide Malboro brand, Thailand is still pretty loose. The AU charges US$19.40 per pack, while the UK is at 5th, with every pack costing US$12.25 per pack. Meanwhile, in Thailand, a single Malboro pack costs a mere US$3.77.

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Japanese Investors Waiting On The EEC

They’ll be more competing for the best Japanese restaurant in Bangkok among other Japanese businesses when the investors start rolling in. At least, that’s what Chairman Kalin Sarasin, Thai Chamber of Commerce, says, claiming that they expect Japanese investors to invest in Thailand once the Thai Government’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) has its timeline is clarified.

Following a meeting in Aug. 22 with Hiroki Mitsumata, President of the Japan External Trade Organization (Jetro), Mr. Kalin says that the Japanese unit stated that they have a lot of investment confidence in Thailand.

Mr. Kalin quoted Mr. Mitsumata, who stated that the latest survey by Jetro on Japanese firms operating in Thailand discovered that about 62% of them have plans to invest more in the country, with a particular focus on the EEC area.

Kalin says that Jetro reaffirmed that Japanese investors are looking to invest in Thailand, both in initial investments and expansion, more importantly, he adds, some new Japanese investors are also interested in investing in the Kingdom. He says that Japanese investors predict that the overall business environment in the second half of 2018 would only continue to improve, while the Japanese firms in Thailand will also be expecting higher exports for the period, particularly with regards to food, electric appliances, electronics and chemicals, which makes  it likely that Thailand will be seeing more competitors for the best Japanese restaurant in Bangkok, alongside new electronics and appliances.

Vice-Chairman of Thai National Shippers’ Council, Visit Limlurcha says that Thailand’s rapid development in the field of logistics is key in drawing foreign investment, citing the World Bank’s biennal Logistics Performance Index, where Thailand ranked up from 45th in 2016 to 32nd in 2018, based on the country’s large investments in transport infrastructure and legal reforms.

These numbers meant that Thailand ranked only second to Singapore in the ASEAN region, 7th in Asia, ahead of Malaysia.

Mr. Visit says that Jetro have also pointed out potential issues, like the Laem Chabang port, which has such congestion issues that are affecting operation costs.

In another, separate development, Kyodo reported at the same day that Japanese firms across Thailand are considering the possibility of wage hikes in the country following the Kingdom’s economic recovery.


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