Sunday, September 2, 2012

Kingdom of Thailand

Thailand ( /ˈtaɪlænd/ ty-land or /ˈtaɪlənd/;[7] Thai: ประเทศไทย, RTGS: Prathet Thai), officially theKingdom of Thailand (Thai: ราชอาณาจักรไทย, RTGS: Ratcha Anachak Thai; IPA: [râːt.tɕʰā ʔāːnāːtɕàk tʰāj] ( listen)), formerly known as Siam (Thai: สยาม; RTGS: Sayam), is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. Sony VAIO PCG-3B1M Battery
It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Burma. Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, and Indonesia and India in the Andaman Sea to the southwest. Sony VAIO PCG-3C1T Battery
The country is a constitutional monarchy, headed by King Rama IX, the ninth king of the House of Chakri, who, having reigned since 1946, is the world's longest-serving head of state and the longest-reigningmonarch in Thai history.[8] The king of Thailand is titled Head of State, Sony VAIO PCG-3D1M Battery
Head of the Armed Forces, the Upholder of the Buddhist religion, and the Defender of all Faiths.
Thailand is the world's 51st-largest country in terms of total area, with an area of approximately 513,000 km2 (198,000 sq mi), and is the 20th-most-populous country, with around 64 million people. Sony VAIO PCG-3G2M Battery
The capital and largest city is Bangkok, which is Thailand's political, commercial, industrial and cultural hub. About 75% of the population is ethnically Thai, 14% is of Chinese origin, and 3% is ethnically Malay;[1] the rest belong to minority groups including Mons, Khmers and various hill tribes. Sony VAIO PCG-5R1M Battery
The country's official language isThai. The primary religion is Buddhism, which is practiced by around 95% of the population.
Thailand experienced rapid economic growth between 1985 and 1996, and is presently a newly industrialized country and a major exporter. Sony VAIO PCG-7141M Battery
Tourism also contributes significantly to the Thai economy.[9][10] There are approximately 2.2 million legal and illegal migrants in Thailand,[11] and the country has also attracted a number of expatriates from developed countries. Sony VAIO PCG-7143M Battery
The country's official name was Siam (Thai: สยาม RTGS: Sayam, pronounced [sàjǎːm]) until 23 June 1939,[13]when it was changed to Thailand. It was then renamed Siam from 1945 to 11 May 1949, after which it was again renamed Thailand. Also spelled SiemSyâm or Syâma, it has been identified with the Sanskrit Śyâma (श्याम, meaning "dark" or "brown"). Sony VAIO PCG-7151M Battery
The names Shan and A-hom seem to be variants of the same word, and Śyâma is possibly not its origin but a learned and artificial distortion.[14]
The word Thai (ไทย) is not, as commonly believed, derived from the word Tai (ไท) meaning "independence" in the Thai language; it is, however, the name of an ethnic group from the central plains (the Thai people). Sony VAIO PCG-7154M Battery
A famous Thai scholar argued that Tai (ไท) simply means "people" or "human being" since his investigation shows that in some rural areas the word "Tai" was used instead of the usual Thai word "kon" (คน) for people.[15]
The Thai use the phrase "land of the free" to express pride in the fact that Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia never colonized by a European power. Sony VAIO PCG-7162M Battery
While the Thai people will often refer to their country using the polite form Prathet Thai (Thai: ประเทศไทย), they most commonly use the more colloquial word Mueang Thai (Thai: เมืองไทย) or simply Thai (Thai: ไทย); the word mueang (Thai: เมือง) meaning nation but most commonly used to refer to a city or town. Sony VAIO PCG-7181M Battery
Ratcha Anachak Thai (Thai: ราชอาณาจักรไทย) means "Kingdom of Thailand" or "Kingdom of Thai".
Etymologically, its components are: -Ratcha- (from Sanskrit raja, meaning "king, royal, realm") ; -ana-(from Pāli āṇā, "authority, command, power", itself from Sanskrit ājñā, same meaning) -chak (from Sanskritcakra or cakraṃ meaning "wheel", a symbol of power and rule). Sony VAIO PCG-41112M Battery
The Thai National Anthem (Thai: เพลงชาติ), composed and written by Peter Feit during the extremely "patriotic" 1930s, refers to the Thai nation as: prathet-thai (Thai: ประเทศไทย). The first line of the national anthem is: prathet thai ruam lueat nuea chat chuea thai (Thai: ประเทศไทยรวมเลือดเนื้อชาติเชื้อไทย) and was translated in 1939 by Colonel Luang Saranuprabhandi as: "Thailand is the unity of Thai blood and body." Sony VAIO PCG-7153M Battery
There is evidence of human habitation in Thailand that has been dated at 40,000 years before the present. Similar to other regions in Southeast Asia, Thailand was heavily influenced by the culture and religions of India, starting with the Kingdom of Funan around the 1st century CE to the Khmer Empire.[16] Sony VAIO PCG-71312M Battery
After the fall of the Khmer Empire in the 13th century, various states thrived there, such as the various Tai, Mon, Khmerand Malay kingdoms, as seen through the numerous archaeological sites and artifacts that are scattered throughout the Siamese landscape. Sony VAIO PCG-7144M Battery
Prior to the 12th century however, the first Thai or Siamese state is traditionally considered to be the Buddhist kingdom of Sukhothai, which was founded in 1238.
Following the decline and fall of the Khmer empire in the 13th–15th century, the Buddhist Tai kingdoms of Sukhothai,Lanna and Lan Xang (now Laos) were on the ascension. Sony VAIO PCG-7191L Battery
However, a century later, the power of Sukhothai was overshadowed by the new kingdom of Ayutthaya, established in the mid-14th century in the lower Chao Phraya River or Menam area.
Ayutthaya's expansion centred along the Menam while in the northern valley the Lanna Kingdom and other small Tai city-states ruled the area. Sony VAIO PCG-3C1M Battery
In 1431, the Khmer abandoned Angkor after the Ayutthaya forces invaded the city.[17] Thailand retained a tradition of trade with its neighbouring states, from China to India, Persia and Arab lands. Ayutthaya became one of the most vibrant trading centres in Asia. Sony VAIO PCG-3F1M Battery
European traders arrived in the 16th century, beginning with the Portuguese, followed by the French, Dutch and English.
After the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767 to the Burmese, King Taksin the Great moved the capital of Thailand to Thonburi for approximately 15 years. Sony VAIO PCG-3H1M Battery
The current Rattanakosin era of Thai history began in 1782, following the establishment of Bangkok as capital of the Chakri dynasty under King Rama I the Great. According to Encyclopædia Britannica, "A quarter to a third of the population of some areas of Thailand and Burma were slaves in the 17th through the 19th centuries." Sony VAIO PCG-3J1M Battery
Despite European pressure, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian nation that has never been colonized.[20] This has been ascribed to the long succession of able rulers in the past four centuries who exploited the rivalry and tension between French Indochina and the British Empire. Sony VAIO PCG-8141M Battery
As a result, the country remained a buffer state between parts of Southeast Asia that were colonized by the two colonizing powers, Great Britain and France. Western influence nevertheless led to many reforms in the 19th century and major concessions, most notably being the loss of a large territory on the east side of the Mekong to the French and the step-by-step absorption by Britain of the Malay Peninsula. Sony VAIO PCG-8161M Battery
The losses initially included Penang and eventually culminated in the loss of four predominantly ethnic-Malay southern provinces, which later became Malaysia's four northern states, under the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909. Sony VAIO PCG-3C2M Battery
In 1932, a bloodless revolution carried out by the Khana Ratsadon group of military and civilian officials resulted in a transition of power, when KingPrajadhipok was forced to grant the people of Siam their first constitution, thereby ending centuries of absolute monarchy. Sony VAIO PCG-5N2M Battery
During World War II, the Empire of Japan demanded the right to move troops across Thailand to the Malayan frontier. Japan invaded the country and engaged theThai Army for six to eight hours before Plaek Pibulsonggram ordered an armistice. Shortly thereafter Japan was granted free passage, and on 21 December 1941, Sony VAIO PCG-5P1M Battery
Thailand and Japan signed a military alliance with a secret protocol wherein Tokyo agreed to help Thailand regain territories lost to the British and French. Subsequently, Thailand declared war on the United States and the United Kingdom on 25 January 1942 and undertook to 'assist' Japan in its war against the Allies, Sony VAIO PCG-5S1M Battery
while at the same time maintaining an active anti-Japanese resistance movement known as the Seri Thai. Approximately 200,000 Asian labourers (mainlyromusha) and 60,000 Allied POWs worked on the Thailand–Burma Death Railway.[21]
After the war, Thailand emerged as an ally of the United States. Sony VAIO PCG-9Z1M Battery
As with many of the developing nations during the Cold War, Thailand then went through decades of political instability characterised by coups d'état as one military regime replaced another, but eventually progressed towards a stable prosperity and democracy in the 1980s. Sony VAIO PCG-7171M Battery
The politics of Thailand is currently conducted within the framework of a constitutional monarchy, whereby the Prime Minister is the head of government and ahereditary monarch is head of state. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislative branches. Sony VAIO PCG-7186M Battery
Since the political reform of the absolute monarchy in 1932, Thailand has had 17 constitutions and charters. Throughout this time, the form of government has ranged from military dictatorship to electoral democracy, but all governments have acknowledged a hereditary monarch as the head of state. Sony VAIO PCG-81112M Battery
Prior to 1932, the Kingdom of Siam did not possess a legislature, as all legislative powers were vested within the person of the monarch. This had been the case since the foundation of the Sukhothai Kingdom in the 12th century: as the king was seen as a "Dharmaraja" or "King who rules in accordance with Dharma" (the Buddhist law of righteousness). Sony VAIO PCG-31311M Battery
However on 24 June 1932 a group of civilians and military officers, calling themselves the Khana Ratsadon (or People's Party) carried out a bloodless revolution, in which the 150 years of absolute rule of the House of Chakri was ended. In its stead the group advocated a constitutional form of monarchy with an elected legislature. Sony VAIO PCG-8152M Battery
The "Draft Constitution" of 1932 signed by King Prajadhipok, created Thailand's first legislature, a People's Assemblywith 70 appointed members. The assembly met for the first time on 28 June 1932, in the Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall. The Khana Ratsadon decided that the people were not yet ready for an elected assembly; Sony VAIO PCG-31111M Battery
however they later changed their minds. By the time the "permanent" constitution came into force in December of that year, elections were scheduled for 15 November 1933. The new constitution also changed the composition of the assembly to 78 directly elected and 78 appointed (by the Khana Ratsadon) together compromising 156 members. Sony VAIO PCG-61111M Battery
For events subsequent to the abdication of the king, including the name change of 1939, up to the coup d'état of 1957, see Plaek Pibulsonggram. For additional history to 1997, refer to his successors in the List of Prime Ministers of Thailand.
The 1997 Constitution was the first constitution to be drafted by popularly elected Constitutional Drafting Assembly, Sony VAIO PCG-51112M Battery
and was popularly called the "People's Constitution".[26] The 1997 Constitution created a bicameral legislature consisting of a 500-seat House of Representatives (สภาผู้แทนราษฎร, sapha phutaen ratsadon) and a 200-seat Senate (วุฒิสภา, wuthisapha). For the first time in Thai history, both houses were directly elected. Sony VAIO PCG-51211M Battery
Many human rights are explicitly acknowledged, and measures were established to increase the stability of elected governments. The House was elected by the first past the post system, where only one candidate with a simple majority could be elected in one constituency. Sony VAIO PCG-51212M Battery
The Senate was elected based on the province system, where one province can return more than one senator depending on its population size.
The two houses of the National Assembly have two different terms. In accordance with the constitution the Senate is elected to a six year term, Sony VAIO PCG-41111M Battery
while the House is elected to a four year term. Overall the term of the National Assembly is based on that of the House. The National Assembly each year will sit in two sessions an "ordinary session" and a "legislative session". The first session of the National Assembly must take place within thirty days after the general election of the House of Representatives. Sony VAIO PCG-41111V Battery
The first session must be opened by the king in person by reading a Speech from the Throne; this ceremony is held in the Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall. He may also appoint the crown prince or a representative to carry out this duty. It is also the duty of the king to prorogue sessions through a Royal Decree when the House term expires. Sony VAIO PCG-61412V Battery
The king also has the prerogative to call extraordinary sessions and prolong sessions at his discretion.
The National Assembly may host a "Joint-sitting" of both Houses under several circumstances. These include: The appointment of a regent, any alteration to the 1924 Palace Law of Succession, Sony VAIO PCG-71112M Battery
the opening of the first session, the announcement of policies by the Cabinet of Thailand, the approval of the declaration of war, the hearing of explanations and approval of atreaty and the amendment of the Constitution.
Members of the House of Representatives served four-year terms, while senators served six-year terms. Sony VAIO PCG-81111V Battery
The 1997 People's Constitution also promoted human rights more than any other constitutions. The court system (ศาล, saan) included aconstitutional court with jurisdiction over the constitutionality of parliamentary acts, royal decrees, and political matters.
The January 2001 general election, the first election under the 1997 Constitution, was called the most open, corruption-free election in Thai history. Sony VAIO PCG-81111V Battery
The subsequent government was the first in Thai history to complete a four-year term. The 2005 election had the highest voter turnout in Thai history.[28][29]Despite efforts to clean up the system, vote buying and electoral violence remained problems of electoral quality in 2005.[30] Sony VAIO PCG-81212M Battery
The PollWatch Foundation, Thailand's most prominent election watchdog, declared that vote buying in this election, specifically in the North and the Northeast, was more serious than in the 2001 election. The organization also accused the government of violating the election law by abusing state power in presenting new projects in a bid to seek votes. Sony VAIO PCG-81212V Battery
Without meeting much resistance, a military junta overthrew the interim government of Thaksin Shinawatra on 19 September 2006. The junta abrogated the constitution, dissolved Parliament and the Constitutional Court, detained and later removed several members of the government, declared martial law, and appointed one of the king's Privy Counselors, Sony VAIO PCG-51111M Battery
General Surayud Chulanont, as the Prime Minister. The junta later wrote a highly abbreviated interim constitutionand appointed a panel to draft a new permanent constitution. The junta also appointed a 250-member legislature, called by some critics a "chamber of generals" while others claimed that it lacks representatives from the poor majority. Sony VAIO VPCS13X9E/B battery
In this interim constitution draft, the head of the junta was allowed to remove the prime minister at any time. The legislature was not allowed to hold a vote of confidence against the cabinet and the public was not allowed to file comments on bills.[33] This interim constitution was later surpassed by the permanent constitution on 24 August 2007. Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery
Martial law was partially revoked in January 2007. The ban on political activities was lifted in July 2007,[34] following the 30 May dissolution of the Thai Rak Thai party. The new constitution was approved by referendum on 19 August, which led to a return to a democratic general electionon 23 December 2007. Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery
The People's Power Party (Thailand), led by Samak Sundaravej formed a government with five smaller parties. Following several court rulings against him in a variety of scandals, and surviving a vote of no confidence, and protesters blockading government buildings and airports, Sony VAIO VPCF13M8E/B battery
in September 2008, Sundaravej was found guilty of conflict of interest by theConstitutional Court of Thailand (due to being a host in a TV cooking program),[35] and thus, ended his term in office.
He was replaced by PPP member Somchai Wongsawat. As of October 2008, Sony VAIO VPCF13Z0E/B battery
Wongsawat was unable to gain access to his offices, which were occupied by protesters from the People's Alliance for Democracy. On 2 December 2008, Thailand's Constitutional Court in a highly controversial ruling found the Peoples Power Party[36] guilty of electoral fraud, which led to the dissolution of the party according to the law. Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/L battery
It was later alleged in media reports that at least one member of the judiciary had a telephone conversation with officials working for the Office of the Privy Council and one other. The phone call was taped and has since circulated on the Internet. In it, the callers discuss finding a way to ensure the ruling PPP party would be disbanded. Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/W battery
Accusations of judicial interference were levelled in the media but the recorded call was dismissed as a hoax. However, in June 2010, supporters of the eventually disbanded PPP were charged with tapping a judge's phone.
Immediately following what many media described as a "judicial coup", Sony VAIO VPCF22M1E battery
a senior member of the Armed Forces met with factions of the governing coalition to get their members to join the opposition and the Democrat Party was able to form a government, a first for the party since 2001. The leader of the Democrat party, and former leader of the opposition, Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H battery
Abhisit Vejjajivawas appointed and sworn-in as the 27th Prime Minister, together with the new cabinet on 17 December 2008.
In of April 2010, a set of new protests by the Red Shirt opposition movement resulted in 87 deaths (mostly civilian and some military) and 1,378 injured.[37] Sony VAIO VPCF13M0E/B battery
When the army tried to disperse the protesters on 10 April 2010, the army was met with automatic gunfire, grenades, and fire bombs from the opposition faction in the army, known as the "watermelon". This resulted in the army returning fire with rubber bullets and some live ammunition. Sony VAIO VPCYB2M1E battery
During the time of the "red shirt" protests against the government, there have been numerous grenade and bomb attacks against government offices and the homes of government officials. Grenades were fired at protesters, that were protesting against the "red shirts" and for the government, Sony VAIO VPCYB3V1E battery
by unknown gunmen killing one pro-government protester, the government stated that the Red Shirts were firing the weapons at civilians.
On 3 July 2011, the oppositional Pheu Thai Party led by Yingluck Shinawatra (the youngest sister of Thaksin Shinawatra) won the general election by a landslide (265 seats in the House of Representatives). Sony VAIO VPCY11M1E battery
They could form a coalition government presided over by Yingluck.
Thailand is divided into 76 provinces (จังหวัด, changwat), which are gathered into 5 groups of provinces by location. There are also 2 special governed districts: the capital Bangkok (Krung Thep Maha Nakhon) and Pattaya, of which Bangkok is at provincial level and thus often counted as a province. Sony VAIO VPCS12L9E/B battery
Each province is divided into districts and the districts are further divided into sub-districts (tambons). As of 2006 there are 877 districts (อำเภอ, amphoe) and the 50 districts of Bangkok (เขต, khet). Some parts of the provinces bordering Bangkok are also referred to as Greater Bangkok (ปริมณฑล, pari monthon). Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B battery
These provinces include Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom and Samut Sakhon. The name of each province's capital city (เมือง, mueang) is the same as that of the province. For example, the capital of Chiang Mai province (Changwat Chiang Mai) is Mueang Chiang Mai or Chiang MaiSony VAIO VPCYB3V1E/R Battery
Thailand controlled the Malay Peninsula as far as Malacca in the 1400s and held much of the peninsula, including Temasek (Singapore) some of the Andaman Islands and a colony on Java, but eventually failed when the British used force to guarantee their suzerainty over the sultanate. Sony VAIO VPCF23P1E Battery
Mostly the northern states of the Malay Sultanate presented annual gifts to the Thai king in the form of a golden flower, which understood the gesture to be tribute and an acknowledgement of vassalage. The British intervened in the Malay State and with the Anglo-Siamese Treaty tried to build a railway from the south to Bangkok. Sony VAIO VPCF23N1E Battery
Thailand relinquished sovereignty over what are now the northern Malay provinces of Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Terengganu to the British. Satun and Pattani provinces were given to Thailand.
The Malay peninsula provinces were infiltrated by the Japanese during World War II, Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/L Battery
and by the Malayan Communist Party (CPM) from 1942 to 2008, when they decided to sue for peace with the Malaysian and Thai governments after the CPM lost its support from Vietnam and China subsequent to the Cultural Revolution. Recent insurgent uprisings may be a continuation of separatist fighting which started after World War II with Sukarno's support for the PULO, and the intensification. Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/G battery
Most victims since the uprisings have been Buddhist and Muslim bystanders.
The foreign relations of Thailand are handled by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand.
Thailand participates fully in international and regional organizations. It is a Major non-NATO ally and Priority Watch ListSpecial 301 Report of the United States. Sony VAIO VPCF24M1E battery
The country remains an active member of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations). Thailand has developed increasingly close ties with other ASEAN members—Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, and Vietnam—whose foreign and economic ministers hold annual meetings. HP Pavilion DV6 Battery
Regional cooperation is progressing in economic, trade, banking, political, and cultural matters. In 2003, Thailand served as APEC host. Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, currently serves as Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). HP Pavilion DV6-1000ET Battery
In 2005 Thailand attended the inaugural East Asia Summit.
In recent years, Thailand has taken an increasingly active role on the international stage. When East Timor gained independence from Indonesia, Thailand, for the first time in its history, contributed troops to the international peacekeeping effort. HP Pavilion DV6-1001TX Battery
Its troops remain there today as part of a UN peacekeeping force. As part of its effort to increase international ties, Thailand has reached out to such regional organizations as the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). HP Pavilion DV6-1001XX Battery
Thailand has contributed troops to reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Thaksin initiated negotiations for several free trade agreements with China, Australia, Bahrain, India, and the US. The latter especially was criticized, with claims that high-cost Thai industries could be wiped out. HP Pavilion DV6-1002TX Battery
Thaksin also announced that Thailand would forsake foreign aid, and work with donor countries to assist in the development of neighbors in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.[43] Thaksin was ambitious to position Thailand as a regional leader, initiating various development projects in poorer neighbouring countries like Laos. HP Pavilion DV6-1003TX Battery
More controversially, he established close, friendly ties with the Burmese dictatorship.[44]
Thailand joined the US-led invasion of Iraq, sending a 423-strong humanitarian contingent. It withdrew its troops on 10 September 2004. Two Thai soldiers died in Iraq in an insurgent attack. HP Pavilion DV6-1004TX Battery
Abhisit appointed Peoples Alliance for Democracy leader Kasit Piromya as Foreign Minister. Prior to his appointment, Kasit had led anti-Cambodia protests and called Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen a "gangster minded (ใจนักเลง jai-nak-leng)" (he later claimed the word he used actually meant "a person who is lionhearted, a courageous and magnanimous gentleman"). HP Pavilion DV6-1005EA Battery
In April 2009, "large-scale fighting" erupted between Thai and Cambodian troops on territory immediately adjacent to the 900-year-old ruins of Cambodia's Preah Vihear Hindu temple near the border. The Cambodian government claimed its army had killed at least four Thais and captured 10 more, HP Pavilion DV6-1005EZ Battery
although the Thai government denied that any Thai soldiers were killed or injured. Two Cambodian soldiers were killed and three Thai soldiers were killed. Both armies blamed the other for firing first and denied entering the other's territory.
The Royal Thai Armed Forces (Thai: กองทัพไทย: Kongthap Thai) constitute the military of the Kingdom of Thailand. HP Pavilion DV6-1005TX Battery
They consist of the Royal Thai Army (กองทัพบกไทย), the Royal Thai Navy (กองทัพเรือไทย, ราชนาวีไทย), and the Royal Thai Air Force (กองทัพอากาศไทย). It also incorporates various paramilitary forces.
Currently, the Royal Thai Armed Forces has a combined manpower of about 800,000 personnel. HP Pavilion DV6-1006TX Battery
The Head of the Thai Armed Forces(จอมทัพไทย: Chomthap Thai) is King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX),[47] although this position is only nominal. The Armed Forces is managed by the Ministry of Defence of Thailand, which is headed by the Minister of Defence (a member of the Cabinet of Thailand) HP Pavilion DV6-1007TX Battery
and commanded by the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters, which in turn is headed by the Chief of Defence Forces of Thailand.[48] In 2011, Thailand's known military expenditure totalled approximately US$5.1 billion.
According to the constitution, serving in the Armed Forces is a duty of all Thai citizens.[50] HP Pavilion DV6-1008TX Battery
However, only males over the age of 21, who have not gone through reserve training of the Army Reserve Force Students, are given the option of whether they want to volunteer for the armed forces, or choose the random draft. The candidates are subjected to varying lengths of training, HP Pavilion DV6-1009EL Battery
from six months to two years of full-time service, depending on their education, whether they have partially completed the reserve training course, and whether they volunteered prior to the drafting date (usually 1 April every year).
Candidates with a recognized bachelor's degree will be subjected to one year of full-time service if they chose the random draft,HP Pavilion DV6-1009TX Battery
or six months if they volunteer at their respective district office (Sasadee). Likewise, the training length is also reduced for those who have partially completed the three-year reserve training course (Ror Dor). A person who completed one year out of three will only have to serve full-time for one year. HP Pavilion DV6-1010EA Battery
Those who completed two years of reserve training will only have to do six months of full-time training, while those who complete three years or more of reserve training will be exempted entirely.
The Royal Thai Armed Forces Day is celebrated on 18 January, commemorating the victory of King Naresuan the Great in battle against the Crown Prince of Burma in 1593. HP Pavilion DV6-1010ED Battery
Totalling 513,120 square kilometres (198,120 sq mi),[1] Thailand is the world's 51st-largest country by total area. It is slightly smaller than Yemen and slightly larger than Spain.
Thailand is home to several distinct geographic regions, partly corresponding to the provincial groups. HP Pavilion DV6-1010ET Battery
The north of the country is the mountainous area of the Thai highlands, with the highest point being Doi Inthanon in the Thanon Thong Chai Range at 2,565 metres (8,415 ft) above sea level. The northeast, Isan, consists of the Khorat Plateau, bordered to the east by the Mekong River. HP Pavilion DV6-1010TX Battery
The centre of the country is dominated by the predominantly flat Chao Phraya river valley, which runs into the Gulf of Thailand.Southern Thailand consists of the narrow Kra Isthmus that widens into the Malay Peninsula. Politically, there are six geographical regions which differ from the others in population, basic resources, natural features, and level of social and economic development. HP Pavilion DV6-1011TX Battery
The diversity of the regions is the most pronounced attribute of Thailand's physical setting.
The Chao Phraya and the Mekong River are the sustainable resource of rural Thailand. Industrial scale production of crops use both rivers and their tributaries. HP Pavilion DV6-1012TX Battery
The Gulf of Thailand covers 320,000 square kilometres (124,000 sq mi) and is fed by the Chao Phraya,Mae Klong, Bang Pakong and Tapi Rivers. It contributes to the tourism sector owing to its clear shallow waters along the coasts in the Southern Region and the Kra Isthmus. HP Pavilion DV6-1013EA Battery
The Gulf of Thailand is also an industrial centre of Thailand with the kingdom's main port in Sattahip along with being the entry gates for Bangkok's Inland Seaport.
The Andaman Sea is regarded as Thailand's most precious natural resource as it hosts the most popular and luxurious resorts in Asia. HP Pavilion DV6-1013TX Battery
Phuket, Krabi, Ranong, Phang Nga and Trang and their lush islands all lay along the coasts of the Andaman Sea and despite the 2004 Tsunami, they continue to be and ever more so, the playground of the rich and elite of Asia and the world.
Plans have resurfaced of a logistical connection of the two bodies of water which would be coined the Thai Canal, analogous to theSuez and the Panama Canal. HP Pavilion DV6-1016EZ Battery
Such an idea has been greeted with positive accounts by Thai politicians as it would cut fees charged by the Ports of Singapore, improve ties with China and India, lower shipping times and increase ship safety owing to pirate fears in the Strait of Melaka and, support the Thai government's policy of being the logistical hub for Southeast Asia. HP Pavilion DV6-1018EL Battery
The ports would improve economic conditions in the south of Thailand, which relies heavily on tourism income, and it would also change the structure of the Thai economy moving it closer to a services centre of Asia. The canal would be a major engineering project and has expected costs of 20–30 billion dollars. HP Pavilion DV6-1020EC Battery
The local climate is tropical and characterized by monsoons. There is a rainy, warm, and cloudy southwest monsoon from mid-May to September, as well as a dry, cool northeast monsoon from November to mid-March. The southern isthmus is always hot and humid. HP Pavilion DV6-1020ED Battery
Thailand enjoys a high level of literacy, and education is provided by a well-organized school system of kindergartens, primary, lower secondary and upper secondary schools, numerous vocational colleges, and universities. HP Pavilion DV6-1020EI Battery
The private sector of education is well developed and significantly contributes to the overall provision of education which the government would not be able to meet through the public establishments. Education is compulsory up to and including age group 14, and the government provides free education through to age group 17. HP Pavilion DV6-1020EJ Battery
Teaching relies heavily on rote rather than on student-centred methodology. The establishment of reliable and coherent curricula for its primary and secondary schools is subject to such rapid changes that schools and their teachers are not always sure what they are supposed to be teaching, HP Pavilion DV6-1020EK Battery
and authors and publishers of textbooks are unable to write and print new editions quickly enough to keep up with the volatile situation. The issue concerning university entrance has therefore also been in constant upheaval for a number of years. Nevertheless, education has seen its greatest progress in the years since 2001. HP Pavilion DV6-1020EL Battery
Most of the present generation of students are computer literate. Thailand was ranked 54th out of 56 countries globally for English proficiency, the second-lowest in Asia.[51]
Extensive nationwide IQ tests were carried out in December 2010 to January 2011 on 72,780 Thai students. HP Pavilion DV6-1020EQ Battery
The average IQ was found to be at 98.59, which is higher than previous studies have found. The IQ levels are not consistent throughout the country though, with the lowest average of 88.07 found in the southern region of Narathiwat and the highest average of 108.91 reported in Nonthaburi province. HP Pavilion DV6-1020ET Battery
The Thai Ministry of Public Health blames the discrepancies on iodine deficiency and steps are being taken to require that iodine be added to table salt, a practice common in many Western countries.The National Science and Technology Development Agency is an agency of the government of Thailand which supports research in science and technology and their application in the Thai economy. HP Pavilion DV6-1022EL Battery
The Synchrotron Light Research Institute (SLRI) is a Thai synchrotron light source for physics, chemistry, material science and life sciences. It is located on the Suranaree University of Technology(SUT), in Nakhon Ratchasima, about 300 km north east of Bangkok. HP Pavilion DV6-1023EF Battery
The Institute, financed by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), houses the only large scale synchrotron in Southeast Asia. It was originally built as the SORTEC synchrotron in Japan and later moved to Thailand and modified for 1.2 GeV operation. It provides users with regularly scheduled light. HP Pavilion DV6-1023EM Battery
Thailand is an emerging economy and considered as a newly industrialized country. After enjoying the world's highest growth rate from 1985 to 1996 – averaging 12.4% annually – increased pressure on Thailand's currency, the baht, in 1997, the year in which the economy contracted by 1.9% led to a crisis that uncovered financial sector weaknesses and forced HP Pavilion DV6-1025EF Battery
the Chavalit Yongchaiyudh administration to float the currency, however, Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh was forced to resign after his cabinet came under fire for its slow response to the crisis. The baht was pegged at 25 to the US dollar from 1978 to 1997, however, HP Pavilion DV6-1025EI Battery
the baht reached its lowest point of 56 to the US dollar in January 1998 and the economy contracted by 10.8% that year. This collapse prompted the Asian financial crisis.
Thailand's economy started to recover in 1999, expanding 4.2% and 4.4% in 2000, thanks largely to strong exports. HP Pavilion DV6-1025EZ Battery
Growth (2.2%) was dampened by the softening of the global economy in 2001, but picked up in the subsequent years owing to strong growth in Asia, a relatively weak baht encouraging exports and increasing domestic spending as a result of several mega projects and incentives of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, known as Thaksinomics. HP Pavilion DV6-1027EF Battery
Growth in 2002, 2003 and 2004 was 5–7% annually. Growth in 2005, 2006 and 2007 hovered around 4–5%. Due both to the weakening of the US dollar and an increasingly strong Thai currency, by March 2008, the dollar was hovering around the 33 baht mark.
Thailand exports an increasing value of over $105 billion worth of goods and services annually.[1] HP Pavilion DV6-1030CA Battery
Major exports include Thai rice, textiles and footwear, fishery products, rubber, jewellery, cars, computers and electrical appliances. Thailand is the world's no.1 exporter of rice, exporting more than 6.5 million tons of milled rice annually. Rice is the most important crop in the country. HP Pavilion DV6-1030EC Battery
Thailand has the highest percentage of arable land, 27.25%, of any nation in the Greater Mekong Subregion.[53] About 55% of the arable land area is used for rice production.[54]
Substantial industries include electric appliances, components, computer parts and cars, while tourism in Thailand makes up about 6% of the economy. HP Pavilion DV6-1030ED Battery
Prostitution in Thailand and sex tourism also form a de facto part of the economy. Cultural milieu combined with poverty and the lure of money have caused prostitution and sex tourism in particular to flourish in Thailand. One estimate published in 2003 placed the trade at US$4.3 billion per year or about 3% of the Thai economy.[55] HP Pavilion DV6-1030EF Battery
According to research by Chulalongkorn University on the Thai illegal economy, prostitution in Thailand in the period between 1993 and 1995, made up around 2.7% of the GDP.[56] It is believed that at least 10% of tourist dollars are spent on the sex trade.[57]
The economy of Thailand is an emerging economy which is heavily export-dependent, HP Pavilion DV6-1030EM Battery
with exports accounting for more than two thirds of gross domestic product (GDP) The exchange rate is Baht 30.90/USD as of 26 April 2012.[58]
Thailand has a GDP worth US$602 billion (on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis). This classifies Thailand as the 2nd largest economy in Southeast Asia after Indonesia. HP Pavilion DV6-1030EO Battery
Despite this, Thailand ranks midway in the wealth spread in Southeast Asia as it is the 4th richest nation according to GDP per capita, after Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia.
It functions as an anchor economy for the neighboring developing economies of Laos, Burma, and Cambodia. HP Pavilion DV6-1030EQ Battery
Thailand's recovery from the 1997–1998 Asian financial crisis depended mainly on exports, among various other factors. Thailand ranks high among the world's automotive export industries along with manufacturing of electronic goods.
Between 1997 and 2010, 4,306 mergers & acquisitions with a total known value of USD$81 billion with the involvement of Thai firms have been announced.[59] HP Pavilion DV6-1030US Battery
The year 2010 was a new record in terms of value with USD$12 billion of transactions. The largest transaction with involvement of Thai companies has been: PTT Chemical PCL merged with PTT Aromatics and Refining PCL valued at USD$3.8 billion in 2011.HP Pavilion DV6-1030US Battery
Forty-nine percent of Thailand's labor force is employed in agriculture, however this is less than the 70% employed in 1980.[61] Agriculture has been experiencing a transition from labour intensive and transitional methods into a more industrialised and competitive sector.[61] HP Pavilion DV6-1038CA Battery
Between 1962 and 1983, the agricultural sector grew by 4.1% on average a year and continued to grow at 2.2% between 1983 and 2007.[61] However, the relative contribution of agriculture to GDP has declined while exports of goods and services have increased. As of December 2011, the unemployment rate in Thailand stands at 0.4%.HP Pavilion DV6-1040EB Battery
With the instability surrounding the recent coup and the military rule, however, the GDP growth of Thailand has settled at around 4–5% from previous highs of 5–7% under the previous civilian administration, as investor and consumer confidence has been degraded somewhat due to political uncertainty. HP Pavilion DV6-1040ED Battery
The IMF has predicted that the Thai economy will rebound strongly from the low 0.1% GDP growth in 2011 to 5.5% in 2012, 7.5% in 2013 thanks to the accommodative monetary policy of the Bank of Thailand and a package of fiscal stimulus measures by the incumbent Yingluck Shinawatra government.[62] HP Pavilion DV6-1040EI Battery
Thailand generally uses the metric system but traditional units of measurement for land area are used, and imperial measure (feet, inches etc.) are occasionally used with building materials such as wood and plumbing sizes. Years are numbered as B.E. (Buddhist Era) in education, the civil service, government, and on contracts and newspaper datelines; HP Pavilion DV6-1040EJ Battery
in banking, however, and increasingly in industry and commerce, standard Western year (Christian or Common Era) counting prevails.
The official language of Thailand is Thai, a Tai–Kadai language closely related to Lao, Shan in Burma, and numerous smaller languages spoken in an arc from Hainan and Yunnan south to the Chinese border. HP Pavilion DV6-1040EK Battery
It is the principal language of education and government and spoken throughout the country. The standard is based on the dialect of the central Thai people, and it is written in the Thai alphabet, an abugidascript that evolved from the Khmer script. Several other dialects exist, and coincide with the regional designations. HP Pavilion DV6-1040EL Battery
Southern Thai is spoken in the southern provinces, and Northern Thai is spoken in the provinces that were formerly part of the independent kingdom of Lannathai.
Thailand is also host to several other minority languages, the largest of which is the Lao dialect ofIsan spoken in the northeastern provinces. HP Pavilion DV6-1040EV Battery
Although sometimes considered a Thai dialect, it is a Lao dialect, and the region in where it is traditionally spoken was historically part of the Lao kingdom ofLan Xang. In the far south, Yawi, a dialect of Malay, is the primary language of the Malay Muslims. Varieties of Chinese are also spoken by the large Chinese population, with Teochew being best represented. HP Pavilion DV6-1040EZ Battery
Numerous tribal languages are also spoken, including those belonging to the Mon–Khmer family, such asMon, Khmer, Viet, Mlabri and Orang Asli; Austronesian family, such as Cham and Moken; Sino-Tibetanfamily such as Lawa, Akhan, and Karen; HP Pavilion DV6-1042EL Battery
and other Tai languages such as Nyaw, Phu Thai, and Saek. Hmongis a member of the Hmong–Mien languages, which is now regarded as a language family of its own.
English is a mandatory school subject, but the number of fluent speakers remains very low, especially outside the cities. HP Pavilion DV6-1044EL Battery
The national religion is Theravada Buddhism. Thai Buddhism ranks amongst the highest in the world. According to the last census (2000) 94.6% of the total population are Buddhists of the Theravada tradition. Muslims are the second largest religious group in Thailand at 4.6%.[HP Pavilion DV6-1045EE Battery
Thailand's southernmost provinces – Pattani, Yala, Narathiwatand part of Songkhla Chumphon have dominant Muslim populations, consisting of both ethnic Thai and Malay. The southern tip of Thailand is mostly ethnically Malay, and most Malays are Sunni Muslims. HP Pavilion DV6-1045EI Battery
Christians represent 0.7% of the population. A small community of Sikhs in Thailand and some Hindus also live in the country's cities. There is also a small Jewish community in Thailand, dating back to the 17th century.
Thai culture has been shaped by many influences, including Indian, Lao, Burmese, Cambodian, and Chinese. HP Pavilion DV6-1045EO Battery
Its traditions incorporate a great deal of influence from India, China, Cambodia, and the rest of Southeast Asia. Thailand's national religion Theravada Buddhism is important to modern Thai identity. Thai Buddhism has evolved over time to include many regional beliefs originating from Hinduism, animism as well as ancestor worship. HP Pavilion DV6-1045EZ Battery
The official calendar in Thailand is based on the Eastern version of the Buddhist Era, which is 543 years ahead of the Gregorian (western) calendar. For example, the year AD 2012 is 2555 BE in Thailand.
Several different ethnic groups, many of which are marginalized, populate Thailand. HP Pavilion DV6-1046EL Battery
Some of these groups overlap into Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia and have mediated change between their traditional local culture, national Thai and global cultural influences. Overseas Chinese also form a significant part of Thai society, particularly in and around Bangkok. HP Pavilion DV6-1050EF Battery
Their successful integration into Thai society has allowed for this group to hold positions of economic and political power.
The traditional Thai greeting, the wai, is generally offered first by the younger of the two people meeting, with their hands pressed together, HP Pavilion DV6-1050EI Battery
fingertips pointing upwards as the head is bowed to touch their face to the hands, usually coinciding with the spoken word "Sawasdee khrap" for male speakers, and "Sawasdee ka" for females. The elder then is to respond afterwards in the same way. Social status and position, such as in government, will also have an influence on who performs the wai first. HP Pavilion DV6-1050EN Battery
For example, although one may be considerably older than a provincial governor, when meeting it is usually the visitor who pays respect first. When children leave to go to school, they are taught to wai to their parents to represent their respect for them. The wai is a sign of respect and reverence for another, similar to the namaste greeting of India and Nepal. HP Pavilion DV6-1050EO Battery
Association football, however, has possibly overtaken Muay Thai's position as most widely viewed and liked sport in contemporary Thai society and it is not uncommon to see Thais cheering their favourite English Premier League teams on television and walking around in replica kits. Another widely enjoyed pastime, and once a competitive sport, is kite flying. HP Pavilion DV6-1050EP Battery
Thai cuisine blends five fundamental tastes: sweet, spicy, sour, bitter and salty. Some common ingredients used in Thai cuisine include garlic, chillies, lime juice, lemon grass, and fish sauce. The staple food in Thailand is rice, particularly jasmine variety rice (also known as Hom Mali rice) which is included in almost every meal. HP Pavilion DV6-1050ET Battery
Thailand is the world's largest exporter of rice, and Thais domestically consume over 100 kg of milled rice per person per year.[54] Over 5000 varieties of rice from Thailand are preserved in the rice gene bank of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), based in the Philippines. The king of Thailand is the official patron of IRRI.[74] HP Pavilion DV6-1050US Battery
Like most Asian cultures, respect towards ancestors is an essential part of Thai spiritual practice. Thais have a strong sense of hospitality and generosity, but also a strong sense of social hierarchy. Seniority is an important concept in Thai culture. Elders have by tradition ruled in family decisions or ceremonies. Older siblings have duties to younger ones. HP Pavilion DV6-1053CL Battery
Taboos in Thailand include touching someone's head or pointing with the feet, as the head is considered the most sacred and the foot the dirtiest part of the body. Thai society has been influenced in recent years by its widely available multi-language press and media. HP Pavilion DV6-1055EE Battery
There are some English and numerous Thai and Chinese newspapers in circulation; most Thai popular magazines use English headlines as a chic glamor factor. Many large businesses in Bangkok operate in English as well as other languages.
Thailand is the largest newspaper market in Southeast Asia with an estimated circulation of over 13 million copies daily in 2003.HP Pavilion DV6-1056EL Battery
Even upcountry, out of Bangkok, media flourishes. For example, according to Thailand's Public Relations Department Media Directory 2003–2004, the nineteen provinces of Isan, Thailand's northeastern region, hosted 116 newspapers along with radio, TV and cable. HP Pavilion DV6-1058EL Battery
Muay Thai (Thai: มวยไทย, RTGS: Muai Thai, [muɛj tʰɑj], lit. "Thai boxing") is a native form of kickboxing and Thailand's national sport. It incorporates kicks, punches, knees and elbow strikes in a ring with gloves similar to those used in Western boxing and this has led to Thailand gaining medals at the Olympic Games in boxing. HP Pavilion DV6-1060EL Battery
Takraw (Thai: ตะกร้อ) is a sport native to Thailand, which the players hit a rattan ball and only be allowed to use their feet, knees, chest and head to touch the ball. Sepak takraw is a form of this sport which appears in volley ball style, the players must volley a ball over a net and force it to hit the ground on oppnent's side. HP Pavilion DV6-1060EO Battery
It is a popular in other countries in Southeast Asia also. A rather similar game but played only with the feet is Buka ball.
Rugby is also a growing sport in Thailand with the Thailand national rugby union teamrising to be ranked 61st in the world.[75] HP Pavilion DV6-1060ES Battery
Thailand became the first country in the world to host an international 80 kg welterweight rugby tournament in 2005.[76] The national domestic Thailand Rugby Union (TRU) competition includes several universities and services teams such as Chulalongkorn University, HP Pavilion DV6-1060EV Battery
Mahasarakham University,Kasetsart University, Prince of Songkla University, Thammasat University, Rangsit University, the Thai Police, the Thai Army, the Thai Navy and the Royal Thai Air Force. Local sports clubs which also compete in the TRU include the British Club of Bangkok, the Southerners Sports Club (Bangkok) and the Royal Bangkok Sports Club. HP Pavilion DV6-1062EL Battery
Thailand has been called the Golf Capital of Asia[77] as it is a popular destination for golf. The country attracts a large number of golfers from Japan, Korea, Singapore, South Africa and Western countries who come to play golf in Thailand every year.[78] The growing popularity of golf, especially among the middle classes and expats, HP Pavilion DV6-1066EL Battery
is evident since there are more than 200 world-class golf courses nationwide,[79] and some of them are chosen to host PGA and LPGA tournaments, such as Amata Spring Country Club, Alpine Golf & Sports Club, Thai Country Club and Black Mountain Golf Club.
Basketball is also a growing sport in Thailand, especially on the professional sports club level. HP Pavilion DV6-1068EL Battery
The Chang Thailand Slammers won the 2011 Asean Basketball League Championship.[80] The Thailand national basketball team had its most successful year at the 1966 Asian Games where it won the silver medal.
Thammasat Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Bangkok, Thailand. It is currently used mostly for football matches. HP Pavilion DV6-1070EO Battery
The stadium holds 25,000. It is located in Thammasat University's Rangsit campus. It was built for the 1998 Asian Games by construction firm Christiani and Nielsen, the same company that constructed the Democracy Monument in Bangkok.
Rajamangala National Stadium is the biggest sporting arena in Thailand. HP Pavilion DV6-1080EL Battery
It currently has a capacity of 65,000. It is located in Bang Kapi, Bangkok. The stadium was built in 1998 for the 1998 Asian Games and is the home stadium of Thailand national football team up to present.
Other sports in Thailand are slowly growing as the country develops its sporting infrastructure. HP Pavilion DV6-1080EQ Battery
The success in sports like weightlifting and Taekwondo at the last two Summer Olympic Games has demonstrated that boxing is no longer the only medal chance for Thailand.
The Economy of Thailand is a newly industrialized economy. It is a heavily export-dependent economy, with exports accounting for more than two thirds of its gross domestic product (GDP). HP Pavilion DV6-1080ES Battery
In 2011, Thailand has a GDP at current market prices of 10.54 trillion baht[1] (about USD345.65 billion[12] ) with the growth rate of 0.1 percent, much lower than the expected growth rate of 3.5 percent due to severe damage from the historic flood the Kingdom confronted mainly in the last quarter of the year. HP Pavilion DV6-1090EO Battery
In 2012, the Thai economy is expected to grow by 5.5-6.0 percent, a V-shaped recovery from last year’s flood.
The industrial and the service sectors serve as the two main sectors in the Thai gross domestic product, with the former accounting for 39 percent thereof. HP Pavilion DV6-1090ES Battery
Albeit often seen as an agricultural country, Thailand has an agricultural sector which shares only 8.6 percent of the GDP – lower than the trading sector and the logistics & communication sector which account for 13.5 percent and 9.6 percent of the GDP respectively. The construction & mining sector adds 4.3 percent to the country’s gross domestic product. HP Pavilion DV6-1099EF Battery
In addition to this, other service sectors - which include the financial, the educational, the hotel & restaurant sectors etc. - account for 25 percent of the country's GDP.[5]
Thailand is the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia. However, its per capita GDP in 2011 remains very low at 155,926 baht[4] (USD5,394[2] ) – slightly lower than China's per capita GDP in 2011. HP Pavilion DV6-1100EO Battery
In Southeast Asia, the Kingdom ranks midway in terms of its per capita GDP, after Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia. As of July, 6th, 2012, Thailand holds some USD173 billion reserve money and international reserve[13] which ranks 2nd in Southeast Asia, after Singapore. With regard to the value of the external trade, HP Pavilion DV6-1100ES Battery
Thailand also ranks 2nd in Southeast Asia, after Singapore.[14]
Concerning the social and development indicators, Thailand is recognized by the World Bank as “one of the great development success stories”.[15] It is now an upper-middle income country, HP Pavilion DV6-1100SO Battery
despite a low per capita gross national income (GNI) of USD4,451 and a bad 103rd rank in the Human Development Index (HDI). Within 22 years, the percentage of the population living below the national poverty line decreased dramatically from 42.21 in 1988 to 7.75 in 2010. HP Pavilion DV6-1100SS Battery
As of the first quarter of the year 2012 (Q1/ 2012), its unemployment rate is 0.72 percent,[17]making Thailand the country of third lowest unemployment rate in the world – only after Monaco and Qatar.[18]Recently, according to the authority, the inflation rate as of Q2/ 2012 remains controllable at 2.5 percent with the policy interest rate of 3 percent. HP Pavilion DV6-1100SV Battery
Thailand was formerly known as Siam and became open to foreign contact in the pre-modern era. Despite the scarcity of resources in Siam, the coastal ports and cities, as well as those at the river mouth, were among the early economic centers. These centers welcomed foreign merchants from Persia, Arab countries, India and China. HP Pavilion DV6-1101AU Battery
The rise of Ayutthaya in the fourteenth century was connected to renewed Chinese commercial activity at the time and the kingdom became one of the most prosperous trade centers in Asia.
In the nineteenth century, when the capital of the Kingdom moved to Bangkok, HP Pavilion DV6-1101AX Battery
foreign trade, particularly with China, became the focus of the government. Chinese merchants came to trade, yet some settled down and received the official positions. A number of Chinese merchants and migrants became high dignitaries in the court. From the mid-nineteenth century onward, European merchants became active. HP Pavilion DV6-1101SO Battery
The Bowring Treaty, which was signed in 1855, guaranteed privileges of the British traders.
However, the domestic market slowly developed. Some academics suggest that the control of serfs was the root of domestic stagnation. Most of male population in Siam were in service of court officials while their wives and daughters might do some small-scale trade in local markets. HP Pavilion DV6-1101TU Battery
Moreover, those who were heavily indebted might also sell themselves to be slaves. Eventually, Siam lacked labor and "national" entrepreneurs. King Rama V, thus, abolished serfdom and slavery in 1901 and 1905 respectively.
From the early twentieth century to the end of World War II, the economy of Siam gradually became part of the global system. HP Pavilion DV6-1101TX Battery
Major entrepreneurs were ethnically Chinese who eventually became Siamese nationals. Export of agricultural products, especially rice, is the most important. Thailand has been among the top of rice exporters in the world until today. HP Pavilion DV6-1102TU Battery
During this period, however, the Siamese economy suffered greatly from the Great Depression in 1920s-1930s - which was one of the causes leading to the Siamese Revolution in 1932.
Postwar domestic as well as international politics played a highly significant role in the Thai economic development in most of the Cold War era. HP Pavilion DV6-1102TX Battery
From 1945 to 1947, when the Cold War did not yet begin, the Thai economy continued to suffer greatly from the Second World War. During the War, the Thai Government - led by Field Marshal Luang Phibulsongkram - allied with Japan and declared war against the Alliance. HP Pavilion DV6-1103AU Battery
After the war, as a result, Thailand had an obligation to supply 1.5 million tons of rice to the Western allied countries without charge, which was a burden to the country's economic recovery. The then Thai Government tried to solve this problem by establishing the Rice Office to oversee and control rice trading. HP Pavilion DV6-1103AX Battery
In this period, the multiple exchange rate system was introduced amid the fiscal as well as monetary problems. Moreover, the Kingdom also confronted shortage of consumer goods.[20]
In November 1947, a short democratic period of Thailand was ended by a 2490 military coup. Nonetheless, it was also in 1947 that the Thai economy regained its momentum. In his dissertation, Somsak Nilnopkoon considers the period of 1947-1951 to be the booming period.[20] HP Pavilion DV6-1103EE Battery
By April 1948, the coup group brought back Field Marshal Luang Phibulsongkram, the wartime Prime Minister, to prime ministership once again. No sooner had he been appointed than he found himself being hung on the power struggle between his juniors. Consequently, to preserve his own political power, Luang Phibulsongkram began an anti-communist campaign to seek support and aid from the United States.[21] HP Pavilion DV6-1103EI Battery
As a result, from 1950 onward, Thailand had received both military and economic aid from the U.S.. With regard to his economic policy, the Phibulsongkram Government set up many state enterprises, which was seen as a culmination of economic nationalism in the country. HP Pavilion DV6-1103EO Battery
In this period, the State (or, actually, the bureaucrats) dominated capital allocation in the Kingdom in the way that all of the country's large-scale investments were initiated and, in many cases, conducted by the State - which is why Dr.Ammar Siamwalla, one of Thailand's most prominent economists, calls it the period of bureaucrats capitalism. HP Pavilion DV6-1103TU Battery
However, in 1955, Thailand began to see a huge change in its economy. Domestic as well as international politics played a very important role in this. By 1955, the internal power struggle between the two (main) factions of the Phibul regime - led by Police General Phao Sriyanonda, on the one hand, and General (later, Field Marshal) Srisdi Dhanarajata, on the other - became fierce to the degree that Police General Phao Sriyanonda sought the U.S. support for a coup against the Phibul regime (but was rejected).HP Pavilion DV6-1103TX Battery
As a result, Field Marshal Luang Phibulsongkram decided to play a democratic game by trying to democratize his own regime, part of which was to seek popular support by developing national economy. To achieve this, once again, he turned to the U.S. support, asking the U.S. to emphasize on economic rather than military aid. HP Pavilion DV6-1104AU Battery
The U.S. responded by giving an unprecedented degree of economic aid to the Kingdom from 1955 to 1959.[22] In addition to this, the Phibulsongkram Government also made some important changes in the country's fiscal and monetary policies. One of these was the cancelation of the multiple exchange rate system and the introduction of the fixed & unified exchange rate system, the system which had been used in the Kingdom until 1984. HP Pavilion DV6-1104AX Battery
In the late Phibul period, however, the Phibulsongkram Government decided to neutralize trade and conducted secret diplomacy with the People's Republic of China - making the U.S. dissatisfied.
Albeit his several attempts to preserve his power, Field Marshal Luang Phibulsongkram could not protect his prime ministership.HP Pavilion DV6-1104TU Battery
On September 16, 1957, a coup group led by Field Marshal Srisdi Dhanarajata successfully organized a 2500 military coup ousting Field Marshal Luang Phibulsongkram, Field Marshal Phin Choonhavan and Police General Phao Sriyanonda (the Phibul-Phin-Phao clique) from power. In terms of economic development, HP Pavilion DV6-1104TX Battery
the Srisdi regime did not only continue what the Phibul regime had done since 1955, but it also significantly intensified this development with full support from the U.S. due to the regime's decision to cut all ties with the People's Republic of China and its full support for the U.S. operation in Indochina. HP Pavilion DV6-1105AU Battery
The Srisdi regime, in power from 1957 to 1973, had developed a great deal of the country's infrastructure and privatized state enterprises which were unrelated to the country's infrastructure. In this period, a number of key official economic institutions were established - such as the Bureau of Budget, the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) and the Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI). HP Pavilion DV6-1105AX Battery
The use of the National Economic and Social Development Plan[23] was also initiated in 1961. Most important to the Thai economy in this period might be that the regime introduced the market-oriented Import-Substituting Industrialization (ISI) which led to steady and rapid economic expansion in the Kingdom in the 1960s.[ HP Pavilion DV6-1105EE Battery
24] According to former President Richard M. Nixon's article, published in Foreign Affairs in 1967, Thailand had entered a period of rapid growth in 1958 with an averaged growth rate of 7 percent a year since then.[25] HP Pavilion DV6-1105EI Battery
From the 1970s to 1984, however, Thailand had suffered from many economic problems - ranging from decreasing American investment, current account deficit, a sudden rise in oil price to inflation. Even worse, domestic politics was unstable. HP Pavilion DV6-1105EO Battery
In addition to this, international politics rendered an unfriendly environment to the Kingdom. With the Vietnamese Occupation of Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia) in December 25, 1978, Thailand at once became the "real" front line state in fighting against communism, as the Kingdom was surrounded by three unfriendly, HP Pavilion DV6-1105ES Battery
communist Indochinese countries and a socialist Burma under General Ne Win. The succeeding Governments tried to solve the economic problems by implementing several measures, some of which (e.g. promoting export and tourism[26] ) have become crucially important for the Thai economy until today. HP Pavilion DV6-1105SL Battery
One of the most significant (and the most remembered) measures to deal with the confronting economic problems at that time came under General Prem Tinsulanonda's Government(s) - in power from 1980 to 1988. Between 1981 and 1984, the Thai Governments decided to devalue the national currency, the Thai Baht (THB), HP Pavilion DV6-1105TU Battery
three times. First, on May 12, 1981, the Government devalued the Baht by 1.07 percent, from THB20.775/USD to THB21/USD. Second, on July 15, 1981, it devalued the Baht again by 8.7 percent, from THB21/USD to THB23/USD. HP Pavilion DV6-1105TX Battery
However, most significant is the third devaluation. On November 2, 1987, the Thai Government decided to devalue the Baht by 15 percent, from THB23/USD to THB27/USD. In addition to this, the Government decided to replace the country's fixed exchange rate (with the U.S. Dollar) system with the so-called "multiple currency basket peg system"HP Pavilion DV6-1106AU Battery
(in which the U.S. Dollar shared 80 percent of the overall weight, anyway).[27] Calculated from the IMF's World Economic Outlook Database, in the period of 1980-1984, the Thai economy had an averaged GDP growth rate of 5.4 percent. HP Pavilion DV6-1106AX Battery
In addition to the third devaluation of the Thai Baht, on September 22, 1985, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and West Germany agreed to sign the Plaza Accord to depreciate the U.S. Dollar in relation to the Japanese Yen and the German Deutsche Mark. HP Pavilion DV6-1106TX Battery
This means, as the U.S. Dollar accounted for 80 percent in the Thai basket of currencies, the Thai Baht was also depreciated further - making Thailand's export even more competitive and making the country more attractive to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), HP Pavilion DV6-1107AU Battery
especially from Japan whose national currency appreciated considerably since 1985. In 1988, Thailand became more democratic after General Prem Tinsulanonda decided to step down and was succeeded by Major General (later, General) Chatichai Choonhavan, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Thailand since 1976. HP Pavilion DV6-1107AX Battery
Moreover, the Third Indochina War was also petering out, with Vietnam gradually retreating from Cambodia by 1989. All of these enhanced the Thai economic development.
After the Baht devaluation in 1984 and the Plaza Accord in 1985, HP Pavilion DV6-1107EL Battery
although the Government sector continued to be in trouble in the first stage due to several fiscal constraints, the Thai private sector began to soar. The outcome of the country's improved foreign trade situations and an influx of foreign direct investment, mainly from Japan, was the booming decade of the Thai economy from 1987 to 1996. HP Pavilion DV6-1107TX Battery
Even though Thailand began to promote export before, it was not until this period that the country fully shifted from Import-Substituting Industrialization (ISI) toward Export-Oriented Industrialization (EOI). In these ten years, the Thai GDP - calculated from the IMF's World Economic Outlook Database - had an averaged growth rate of 9.5 percent per year, HP Pavilion DV6-1108AU Battery
with the peak at 13.3 percent in 1988.[29] In the same decade, the volume of the Thai export of goods and services had an averaged growth rate of 14.8 percent, with the peak at 26.1 percent in 1988.[30] HP Pavilion DV6-1108AX Battery
However, in the same decade, many economic problems persisted. From 1987 to 1996, Thailand also saw a huge current account deficit with an average of -5.4 percent of the GDP per year, and the deficit continued to be increasing. In 1996, the current account deficit accounted for -7.887 percent of the country's GDP (or USD14.351 billion).[31] HP Pavilion DV6-1108CA Battery
Capital shortage in the country was another problem. The 1st Chuan Leekpai Government, in power from September 1992 to May 1995, tried to solve this problem by granting the so-called Bangkok International Banking Facilities (BIBFs) to the Thai banks in 1993. HP Pavilion DV6-1108TX Battery
The unexpected outcome of this solution was that it led to even more severe economic problems. This solution allowed the banks with the BIBF licenses to take advantages from the high interest rate of Thailand by taking out a low interest loan from foreign financial institutions and then loaning it to Thai businesses with a higher interest rate (but still lower than the interest rate of the internal financial institutions). HP Pavilion DV6-1109AU Battery
As a result, by 1997, external debt soared uncontrollably to USD109,276 billion, 65 percent of which was short-term debts, while Thailand only had USD38,700 billion as international reserves.[32] Even worse, many of these loans were used in the real estate business - causing a rapid expansion of bubble economy. HP Pavilion DV6-1109AX Battery
In addition to this, by late 1996, there was a great loss of confidence in the country's financial institutions. In 1996, the Thai Government closed 18 trust companies and 3 commercial banks. In 1997, 56 financial institutions were closed by the Government.[32] HP Pavilion DV6-1109TX Battery
All of these problems led to another problem, i.e. currency attack. Having known all of the economic problems confronting the Kingdom and that Thailand had used the multiple currency basket peg exchange rate, the foreign speculators (including the Hedge Funds) were certain that the Thai Government would soon have to devalue the Baht. HP Pavilion DV6-1110EC Battery
At that time, the Baht was under pressure from both the spot market and the forward market. In the spot market, in order to force devaluation, the speculators took out a loan in Baht and sold it for U.S. Dollars. In the forward market, the speculators - strongly believing that the Baht would soon be devalued - bet against the currency by entering into contracts with dealers who would give U.S. HP Pavilion DV6-1110EG Battery
Dollars in return for an agreement to repay a specific amount of Baht some months in the future.[33] Within the Government at that time, there was also a serious call from Dr.Virapong Ramangkul, one of Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh's economic advisors, to devalue the Baht. HP Pavilion DV6-1110EH Battery
At that time, the situation of the Baht was so severe that General Prem Tinsulanonda, the highly respected former Prime Minister, asked General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh to take Dr.Virapong Ramangkul's warning seriously.[34] HP Pavilion DV6-1110EJ Battery
General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, however, ignored his voice and, instead, relied on the Bank of Thailand - led by the then Governor Rerngchai Marakanond - who finally spent as much as USD24,000 billion (around two-thirds of the Kingdom's international reserves) to protect the Baht value. As a result, on July 2, 1997, HP Pavilion DV6-1110EL Battery
Thailand had only USD2,850 billion left as international reserves[32] and, hence, could no longer fight against currency attack to protect the pegged value of the Thai baht. In the same day, Mr.Rerngchai Marakanond declared to float the national currency. This was usually marked as the beginning point of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. HP Pavilion DV6-1110EO Battery
Shortly speaking, the entire economy of Thailand collapsed from the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis - which itself started from Bangkok. Within a few months, the value of the Thai Baht floated from THB25/USD to the lowest point at THB56/USD. HP Pavilion DV6-1110EQ Battery
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) dropped dramatically from the peak at 1,753.73 points in 1994 to the lowest point at 207.31 points in 1998[36] . In terms of the national currency, the country's GDP dropped from THB2.941 trillion at the end of 1996 to THB2.749 trillion at the end of 1998. HP Pavilion DV6-1110ES Battery
A sharp and sudden decrease in the Baht value also meant that the value of external debts increased sharply and suddenly - making gigantic financial institutions crumble. Many of them were partly sold to foreign investors while some of them became bankrupt. HP Pavilion DV6-1110ET Battery
Finally, because as of July 2nd, 1997, Thailand had only USD2,850 billion international reserves left from the Bank of Thailand's national currency protection measures, the Thai Government had to take a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Overall, Thailand received USD17.2 billion of bilateral and multilateral assistance[38] . HP Pavilion DV6-1110EZ Battery
The crisis also had both direct and indirect impact upon Thai politics. The direct impact was that General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, the then Prime Minister of the Kingdom, resigned on November 6th, 1997, after he had encountered a great deal of pressure, and was succeeded by the then leader of the Opposition - Mr.Chuan Leekpai. HP Pavilion DV6-1110SS Battery
The 2nd Chuan Leekpai Government, in power from November 1997 to February 2001, tried to conduct a great deal of economic reform based upon the IMF-guided philosophy of neoliberal capitalism. His Government pursued very strict fiscal and financial policies, e.g. keeping a high interest rate while cutting government spending. HP Pavilion DV6-1110TX Battery
In addition to this, the 2nd Chuan Leekpai Government issued 11 laws which the Government referred to as "bitter medicines" while the critics called "the 11 nation-selling laws". The Government and its supporters often pointed out that by these measures, the Thai economy at least got better. HP Pavilion DV6-1111TX Battery
In 1999, Thailand had a positive GDP growth rate for the first time since the crisis. However, it appeared that there are more critics than supporters of the 2nd Chuan Leekpai Government's economic measures. A lot of critics said that the Government should not believe the IMF, who was all the way wrong from the first place, HP Pavilion DV6-1112TX Battery
and should find other sources of loans. A cut in government spending actually harmed economic recovery. Unlike economic problems in Latin America and Africa, the Asian Financial Crisis was born out of the private sector. HP Pavilion DV6-1113TX Battery
The same set of IMF measures should never be applied to solve a different kind of problems. The positive growth rate the country saw in 1999 was rather because the country's GDP had gone down for two consecutive years already - especially, as much as -10.5 percent in 1998 alone. HP Pavilion DV6-1114TX Battery
In fact, in terms of the Thai Baht, it was not until 2002 (and, in terms of the U.S. Dollar, not until 2006) that Thailand had the same amount of GDP it had in 1996. Additionally, there was a loan from the Miyazawa Plan coming in to urge the economy in 1999. The issues "whether or not" and "to what extent" the 2nd Chuan Leekpai Government did really "help" recover the Thai economy, therefore, remains controversial. HP Pavilion DV6-1115EE Battery
The most important indirect impact of the financial crisis upon Thai politics was the Rise of Thaksin. Largely due to (alleged) failure of the 2nd Chuan Leekpai Government in recovering the country's economy, HP Pavilion DV6-1115EI Battery
Police Lieutenant Colonel Thaksin Shinawatra's Thai Rak Thai Party won a landslide victory over Mr.Chuan Leekpai's Democrat Party in the 2001 general election, and took office in February 2001. Although weak export demand held the GDP growth rate to 2.2 percent in his first year of administration, the 1st Thaksin Shinawatra Government did very well in 2002 to 2004 - with the growth rates of 5.3 percent, HP Pavilion DV6-1115ES Battery
7.1 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively. His set of policies was later called Thaksinomics. Under his first term of administration, Thailand could regain momentum over the economy and could pay off all of the IMF's debts by July 2003 - two years ahead of the schedule. Despite these, HP Pavilion DV6-1115ET Battery
an issue "to what extent" Thaksinomics was successful and good for Thailand also emerges from critics and remains controversial. Nevertheless, the (alleged) success of his economic policies was one of the reasons why his party won another landslide victory over the Democrat Party in the 2005 general election. HP Pavilion DV6-1115EZ Battery
However, Thaksin's second term of administration was not so smooth and not so successful as his first term. On December 26th, 2004, the Indian Ocean Tsunamitook place, and had an impact over the first quarter of the Thai GDP in 2005 (Q1/ 2005). HP Pavilion DV6-1115TX Battery
The Yellow Shirts phenomenon, a coalition of protesters against Thaksin, also began to emerge in 2005. In 2006, the political situations in Thailand became so strained. Thaksin, finally, dissolved the parliament and called for a general election amidst fierce criticism. The 2006 general election was organized in April, HP Pavilion DV6-1116EL Battery
but was boycotted by the main opposition parties. Thaksin's party had won again; however, the election was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court. HP Pavilion DV6-1116TX Battery
However, in the last year of the 2nd Thaksin Government, the Thai GDP grew by 5.1 percent.
After the coup, once again, the economy of Thailand suffered from its politics. From the last quarter of the year 2006 (Q4/ 2006) through the year 2007, Thailand was under the military junta regime - led by General Surayud Chulanont, who was appointed as the Prime Minister in October, HP Pavilion DV6-1117EL Battery
2006. The GDP growth rate slowed down from 6.1 percent, 5.1 percent and 4.8 percent in the first three quarters to 4.4 percent in Q4/ 2006[1] . Thaksin's plan for massive infrastructure investments was never mentioned again until 2011 when his younger sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, came into office. HP Pavilion DV6-1117ES Battery
In 2007, however, the Thai economy grew by 5 percent. On December 23rd, 2007, the military Government held the 2007 general election. The pro-Thaksin People's Power Party, led by Mr.Samak Sundaravej, won a landslide victory over Mr.Abhisit Vejjajiva's Democrat Party - which is usually recognized as Thaksin's 3rd landslide victory in the country's general election. HP Pavilion DV6-1117TX Battery
However, under the People's Power Party-led Government, the country fell into political turmoil. When this was combined with an impact from the U.S. financial institution crisis in the last two quarters of year (Q3-Q4/ 2008), HP Pavilion DV6-1118EL Battery
the Thai GDP growth rate in 2008 slumped to 2.5 percent[1] . Before the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) or the Yellow Shirts reconvened in March, 2008, the Thai GDP grew by 6.5 percent in the first quarter of the year (Q1/ 2008)[1] . HP Pavilion DV6-1118TX Battery
The Yellow Shirts occupied the Government House of Thailand in August, 2008. On September 9th, 2008 the Constitutional Court delivered a decision disqualifying Samak Sundaravej from his prime ministership. Mr.Somchai Wongsawat, HP Pavilion DV6-1119EL Battery
Thaksin's brother-in-law, succeeded Samak Sundaravej as the Prime Minister of the Kingdom on September 18th, 2008. Around this time, in the U.S., the financial institution crisis hit its peak. As a result, the GDP growth rate dropped from 5.2 percent in Q2/ 2008 to 3.1 percent and -4.1 percent in Q3-Q4/ 2008. From November 25th, HP Pavilion DV6-1119TX Battery
to December 3rd, 2008, the Yellow Shirts seized the two Bangkok airports (both Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang), which hurt Thailand's image and economy. On December 2nd, 2008, the Thai Constitutional Court delivered a decision dissolving the People's Power Party, HP Pavilion DV6-1120EC Battery
which also meant ousting Mr.Somchai Wongsawat from his prime ministership.
For purchasing power parity comparisons, the US Dollar is exchanged at 22→.34 Baht only. HP Pavilion DV6-1120EF Battery
Before the 1997 financial crisis, the Thai economy had years of manufacturing-led economic growth—averaging 9.4% for the decade up to 1996. Relatively abundant and inexpensive labor and natural resources, fiscal conservatism, open foreign investment policies, HP Pavilion DV6-1120EG Battery
and encouragement of the private sector underlay the economic success in the years up to 1997.
The economy of Thailand is an advocate of the free enterprise system. Certain services, such as power generation, transportation, and communications, are state-owned and operated, but the government has considered privatizing them in the wake of the financial crisis. HP Pavilion DV6-1120EH Battery
The Royal Thai Government welcomes foreign investment, and investors who are willing to meet certain requirements can apply for special investment privileges through the Board of Investment. To attract additional foreign investment, the government has modified its investment regulations. HP Pavilion DV6-1120EI Battery
The organized labor movement remains weak and divided in Thailand; only 4% of the labor force is unionized. In 2000, the State Enterprise Labor Relations Act (SELRA) was passed, giving public sector employees similar rights to those of private sector workers, including the right to unionize. HP Pavilion DV6-1120EJ Battery
49% of Thailand's labor force is employed in agriculture, however this is less than the 70% employed in 1980.[39] Agriculture has been experiencing a transition from labour intensive and transitional methods into a more industrialised and competitive sector.HP Pavilion DV6-1120EK Battery
[39] Rice is the country's most important crop; Thailand is the #1 exporter in the world rice market. Other agricultural commodities produced in significant amounts include fish and fishery products, tapioca, rubber, grain, and sugar. Exports of processed foods such as canned tuna, pineapples, and frozen shrimp are on the rise. HP Pavilion DV6-1120EL Battery
Thailand's increasingly diversified manufacturing sector made the largest contribution to growth during the economic boom. Industries registering rapid increases in production included computers and electronics, garments and footwear, furniture, HP Pavilion DV6-1120EO Battery
wood products, canned food, toys, plastic products, gems, andjewelry. High-technology products such as integrated circuits and parts, electrical appliances, and vehicles are now leading Thailand's strong growth in exports. HP Pavilion DV6-1120EQ Battery
Developments in agriculture since the 1960s, have supported Thailand's transition to a industrialised economy.[39] As recently as 1980 agriculture represented 70% of employment.[39] In 2008 agriculture, forestry, and fishing contributed only 8.4% percent to GDP and even in rural areas farm jobs represent only half of employment. HP Pavilion DV6-1120ER Battery
[39] Thailand is the world's leading exporter of rice and a major exporter of shrimp. Other crops include coconuts, corn, rubber, soybeans, sugarcane and tapioca.[40]
In 1985 Thailand officially designated 25 percent of the nation's land area for protected forests and 15 percent for timber production. HP Pavilion DV6-1120ES Battery
Protected forests have been set aside for conservation and recreation, while production forests are available for the forestry industry. Between 1992 and 2001, exports of logs and sawn timber increased from 50,000 cubic meters to 2 million cubic meters per year. HP Pavilion DV6-1120ET Battery
The regional avian flu outbreak led to a contraction of Thailand's agricultural sector during 2004, and the tsunami disaster of 26 December 2004, devastated the west coast fisheries industry. In 2005 and 2006 agricultural GDP was stated to have contracted by 10 percent. [41]
Thailand is the world's second largest exporter of gypsum after Canada, even though government policy limits gypsum exports to prevent price cuts. In 2003 Thailand produced more than 40 types of minerals with an annual value of about US$740 million. However, more than 80 percent of these minerals were consumed domestically. HP Pavilion DV6-1120SA Battery
In September 2003, in order to encourage foreign investment in the mining industry, the government relaxed severe restrictions on mining by foreign companies and reduced mineral royalties payable to the state.[41] HP Pavilion DV6-1120SF Battery
In 2007 industry contributed 43.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) but employed only 14% of the workforce. This proportion is the opposite of the one applying to agriculture. Industry expanded at an average annual rate of 3.4 percent during the 1995–2005 period. HP Pavilion DV6-1120SK Battery
The most important subsector of industry is manufacturing, which accounted for 34.5 percent of GDP in 2004.
Thailand is becoming a center of automobile manufacturing for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) market. By 2004 automobile production had reached 930,000 units, more than twice as much as in 2001. HP Pavilion DV6-1120SL Battery
Two automakers active in Thailand are Toyota and Ford. The expansion of the automotive industry has led to a boom in domestic steel production.
Thailand's electronics industry faces competition from Malaysia and Singapore, while its textile industry faces competition from China and Vietnam.[41] HP Pavilion DV6-1120TX Battery
But now according to the World Journal reported that the Thai Textile Association president Chung SHA said that although the global economic downturn, but the emerging markets leading role and the Thai-Japanese free trade agreement (FTA) signed, with Thai exports of textiles and garments for good.[citation needed] HP Pavilion DV6-1121TX Battery
In 2004 Thailand's total energy consumption was estimated at 3.4 quadrillion British thermal units, representing about 0.7 percent of total world energy consumption. Thailand is a net importer of oil and natural gas, but the government is promoting the use of ethanol to reduce imports of petroleum and the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether. HP Pavilion DV6-1122TX Battery
In 2005 daily oil consumption of 838,000 barrels per day (133,200 m3/d) exceeded domestic production of 306,000 barrels per day (48,700 m3/d). Thailand's four oil refineries have a combined capacity of 703,100 barrels per day (111,780 m3/d). HP Pavilion DV6-1122US Battery
Thailand's government is considering establishing a regional oil processing and transportation hub, serving the needs of south-central China. In 2004 natural gas consumption of 1,055 billion cubic feet (2.99×1010 m3) exceeded domestic production of 790 billion cubic feet (2.2×1010 m3). HP Pavilion DV6-1123EE Battery
Also in 2004, estimated coal consumption of 30.4 million short tons exceeded coal production of 22.1 million short tons. As of January 2007, proven oil reserves totaled 290 million barrels (46,000,000 m3), and proven natural gas reserves were 14.8 trillion cubic feet (420 km3). In 2003 recoverable coal reserves totaled 1,492.5 million short tons.[41] HP Pavilion DV6-1123TX Battery
In 2005 Thailand consumed about 117.7 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. Electricity consumption rose by 4.7 percent in 2006 to 133 billion kilowatt-hours. According to the state electricity utility, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, HP Pavilion DV6-1124CA Battery
power consumption by residential consumers has been increasing because of more favorable rates given to residential customers over the industry and business sectors. Thailand's state-controlled electric utility and petroleum monopolies are undergoing restructuring. HP Pavilion DV6-1124TX Battery
Tourism makes a larger contribution to Thailand's economy (typically about 6 percent of gross domestic product) than that of any other Asian nation. Most tourists come to Thailand for various reasons—mostly for the beaches and relaxation, HP Pavilion DV6-1125EE Battery
although with the ongoing insurgency in the deep South, Bangkok has seen a large increase in tourism over the past years.
Also, a sharp increase in tourism from other Asian countries has contributed largely to Thailand's economy even though the Baht has gained strength compared to most other currencies in the past two years. HP Pavilion DV6-1125EF Battery
In 2007 some 14 million tourists visited Thailand. The Thai tourism industry includes a thriving sex industry. Successive Thai governments, however, continue to neglect sex workers rights under labor laws that persist in the criminalization of sex workers, allowing corrupt authorities and employers to exploit sex-workers' labor.[42] HP Pavilion DV6-1125EL Battery
The easing of the monetary crisis, the renewed vigorous growth of the Chinese economy, the relatively stable internal political situation following the 2008–2009 Thai political crisis, and the 2009 flu pandemic having less of an impact as initially feared, have changed the tourism outlook for 2010. HP Pavilion DV6-1125EO Battery
Thailand experienced a decrease of international visitors of 16% over the first six months of 2009 but the last four months of 2009 have seen a return of foreign tourists to Thailand with a marked increase in the months of November and December. The provisional numbers for 2009 have now been revised upwards to close to 14 million international visitors, which is a decrease of only 4% compared to 2008.[43] HP Pavilion DV6-1125ER Battery
Dangerous levels of nonperforming assets at Thai banks helped trigger the attack on the Thai baht by currency speculators that led to the Asian financial crisis in 1997–1998. By 2003 nonperforming assets had been cut in half to about 30 percent.
Despite a return to profitability, however, Thailand's banks continue to struggle with the legacy of the financial crisis in the form of unrealized losses and inadequate capital. HP Pavilion DV6-1125ET Battery
Therefore, the government is considering various reforms, including establishing an integrated financial regulatory agency that would free up the Bank of Thailand to focus on monetary policy.
In addition, the Thai government is attempting to strengthen the financial sector through the consolidation of commercial, state-owned, and foreign-owned institutions. HP Pavilion DV6-1125SF Battery
Specifically, the government's Financial Sector Reform Master Plan, which was first introduced in early 2004, provides tax breaks to financial institutions that engage in mergers and acquisitions.
The reform program has been deemed successful by outside experts. HP Pavilion DV6-1125TX Battery
In 2007, there were three state-owned commercial banks and five state-owned specialized banks, 15 Thai commercial banks, and 17 foreign banks in Thailand.[41]
The Bank of Thailand sought to stem the flow of foreign funds into the country in December 2006. HP Pavilion DV6-1126EL Battery
This led within one day to the largest drop in stock prices on the Stock Exchange of Thailand since the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. The massive selling by foreign investors amounted more than US$708 million.
Thailand's labor force was estimated at 36.9 million in 2007. HP Pavilion DV6-1126TX Battery
About 49% were employed in agriculture, 37% in services, and 14% in industry. In 2005 women constituted 48 percent of the labor force and held an increasing share of professional jobs. Less than 4% of the workforce is unionized, but 11% of industrial workers and 50% of state enterprise employees are unionized. HP Pavilion DV6-1127CL Battery
Although laws applying to private-sector workers' rights to form and join trade unions were unaffected by 19 September 2006, military coup and its aftermath, workers who participate in union activities continue to have inadequate legal protection. According to the U.S. Department of State, union workers are inadequately protected. HP Pavilion DV6-1127EE Battery
Thailand's unemployment rate lies at 1.5% percent of the labor force.
The United States is Thailand's largest export market and second-largest supplier after Japan. While Thailand's traditional major markets have been North America, Japan, and Europe, economic recovery among Thailand's regional trading partners has helped Thai export growth. HP Pavilion DV6-1127EL Battery
Recovery from the financial crisis depended heavily on increased exports to the rest of Asia and the United States. Since 2005, the rapid ramp-up in export of automobiles of Japanese makes (esp. Toyota, Nissan, Isuzu) has helped to dramatically improve the trade balance, with over 1 million cars produced annually since then. HP Pavilion DV6-1127TX Battery
As such, Thailand has joined the ranks of the world's top ten automobile exporting nations.
Machinery and parts, vehicles, electronic integrated circuits, chemicals, crude oil and fuels, and iron and steel are among Thailand's principal imports. The recent increase in import levels reflects the need to fuel the production of high-technology items and vehicles. HP Pavilion DV6-1128TX Battery
Thailand is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Cairns Group of agricultural exporters. Thailand is part of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). Thailand has actively pursued free trade agreements. A China-Thailand Free Trade Agreement (FTA) commenced in October 2003. HP Pavilion DV6-1129TX Battery
This agreement was limited to agricultural products, with a more comprehensive FTA to be agreed upon by 2010. Thailand also has a limited Free Trade Agreement with India, which commenced in 2003; and a comprehensive Australia-Thailand Free Trade Agreement which started 1 January 2005. HP Pavilion DV6-1130EC Battery
Thailand started free trade negotiations with Japan in February 2004, and an in-principle agreement was agreed in September 2005. Negotiations for a US-Thailand Free Trade Agreement are underway, with the fifth round of meetings held in November 2005. HP Pavilion DV6-1130EG Battery
Tourism contributes significantly to the Thai economy, and the industry has benefited from the Thai baht's depreciation and Thailand's stability. Tourist arrivals in 2002 (10.9 million) reflected a 7.3% increase from the previous year (10.1 million in 2001). HP Pavilion DV6-1130EH Battery
Bangkok is one of the most prosperous parts of Thailand, and heavily dominates the national economy, with the infertile northeast being the poorest. An overriding concern of successive Thai Governments, and a particularly strong focus of the recently ousted Thaksin government, HP Pavilion DV6-1130EI Battery
has been to reduce these regional disparities, which have been exacerbated by rapid economic growth in Bangkok and the financial crisis.
Although little economic investment reaches other parts of the country except for tourist zones, HP Pavilion DV6-1130EK Battery
the government has been successful in stimulating provincial economic growth in the Eastern Seaboard of Thailand, and the Chiang Mai area. Despite much talk of other regional developments, these 3 regions and other tourist zones still dominate the national economy. HP Pavilion DV6-1130EL Battery
Although some U.S. rights holders report good cooperation with Thai enforcement authorities, including the Royal Thai Police and Royal Thai Customs, Thailand remains on the Priority Watch List in 2012. The United States is encouraged that Thailand’s new government has affirmed its commitment to improving IPR protection and enforcement. HP Pavilion DV6-1130EQ Battery
But still more needs to be done to see Thailand removed from the list.[44]
Although the economy has demonstrated moderate positive growth since 1999, future performance depends on continued reform of the financial sector, corporate debt restructuring, attracting foreign investment, and increasing exports. HP Pavilion DV6-1130ES Battery
Telecommunications, roadways, electricity generation, and ports showed increasing strain during the period of sustained economic growth and may pose a future challenge. Thailand's growing shortage of engineers and skilled technical personnel may limit its future technological creativity and productivity. HP Pavilion DV6-1130ET Battery,HP Pavilion DV6-1130SA Battery,HP Pavilion DV6-1130TX Battery

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