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Posts Tagged ‘Laos’

5th November 2013

In recent postings throughout the internet, speculation regarding the future of Southeast Asian economics abound. Meanwhile, further analysis of the Thai economy in particular is rife. In a recent article on Forbes’ official website evidence has been cited which would appear to point to the possibility that Thailand may experience an economic bubble burst akin to the crash of 1997. Various Thai government officials as well as Thai businesspersons were quoted as saying that certain aspects of the Thai economy are troubling. Notably, inflows of foreign capital specifically targeting the Thai property market as well as signs that Thai people are engaged in what could be described as conspicuous consumption are leading some experts to believe that Thailand could be headed for a new economic downturn.

Concurrently, the article went on to note that Thailand, ever susceptible to negative economic consequences arising from nations which maintain significant trade relationships with the Kingdom, may see problems in export sectors resulting from decreased demand in both China and the other nations which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Should there be an economic problem in one of these countries then there could be a sort of negative ripple effect in the export sector in Thailand.

The points made in the article are compelling and certainly there may be cause for concern that the Thai economy may be placed in a difficult position in the future, especially if Thailand’s main export markets experience an economic downturn. However, the situation may not be as dire as some are predicting. Instead, this blogger would argue that Thailand’s economy may be simply in something of a state of flux due to changes in the ASEAN region and China. The dynamics of global economics are changing. American monetary policy along with economic problems in Europe have caused many to look toward Asia as a beacon of possible future growth.

In a recent article on the official website of Bloomberg it was noted that there appears to be a “boom” of sorts occurring in the Eastern province of Rayong and the region of Northeast Thailand known as Isan. As automobile manufacturing has increased in Rayong, so too has the purchasing power of residents of that province. Meanwhile, Isan is experiencing an upsurge economically as a result of increased domestic income and also concomitant demand for consumer goods from the local population. All of this news comes closely upon the heels of announcements that Thailand, Laos, and China will one day be connected via a high speed rail system. In fact, China has recently noted their commitment to that project and Thai officials have asked China to assist in the design of a rail system between Bangkok and Udon Thani (a city of 400,000 which sits close to the border and capital of Laos). There is an argument that should this rail system go into place the resulting economic boon to Thailand, particularly Northeast Thailand, could be tremendous as there could be a substantial increase in trade and tourism from China via this rail link. Moreover, Thailand could see itself becoming the entrepot for trade between South China and the rest of the ASEAN jurisdictions.

Presently, it is difficult to say whether Thailand will continue a trend of uninterrupted prosperity. However, there is strong evidence to suggest that increased economic integration with ASEAN as well as new, less logistically difficult, trade opportunities with China could usher in an era of prosperity and counter some of the negative factors currently worrying experts analyzing the current state of the Thai economy.

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3rd September 2013

A recent article posted on the official MCOT website noted that Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is currently visiting Nanning, China. Nanning is the capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Apparently she is visiting in her official capacity and attending the commencement of the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit and the 10th China-ASEAN Expo. These activities are reportedly to continue until the 6th of September. A government spokesman pointed out that the Kingdom of Thailand and the Peoples’ Republic of China are seeking to increase bilateral trade volume to $100 billion by 2015. The same spokesman also noted that the Chinese Prime Minister has signaled Chinese intentions to purchase 1 million tons of rice from Thailand.

The issue of international purchases of Thai rice has been controversial in recent months as the current Thai government has taken criticism for the so-called rice pledging scheme. Should the Chinese government ultimately purchase the amount of rice noted above it could be viewed as a positive development for the Thai agricultural sector as a whole and the rice sector in particular.

It was also noted that Chinese officials had displayed interest in investing in the Thai rubber industry. As in the case of the Thai rice pledging scheme, the current government has dealt with frustration from labor groups in the Thai rubber industry as protests of current policy have even caused highways and railways to be closed in Southern Thailand. Perhaps an influx of Chinese investment could ease some of these tensions and result in a more prosperous Thai rubber sector in the future.

Meanwhile, the issue of railways also seems to be of importance to Thai, ASEAN, and Chinese officials attending the summit as Thailand appears set upon investing 2 trillion baht in infrastructure projects including construction of high speed rail systems. It is hoped that by the year 2020 Thailand will have a high speed rail system connecting to China via Laos. In the previous posting on this blog it was pointed out that Chinese businesses are repositioning themselves both strategically and geographically in an effort to gain further access to what they believe to be an increasingly lucrative ASEAN market. By creating a high speed rail link between China and Thailand, Thai officials could place Thailand in a very beneficial position in the future since such a system would facilitate further trade not only between China and Thailand, but also between those two countries and the other ASEAN markets.

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30th August 2013

In a recent article from The Telegraph author Ambrose Evans-Pritchard analyzed how Federal Reserve policies impact emerging markets. It is a very interesting article for anyone (especially expatriates living abroad) interested in understanding how Fed policy reverberates in markets outside of the United States. Of particular interest to expats living overseas was the analysis of the disproportionate impact Fed policy has on foreign nationals residing in other countries. Although the aforementioned article would seem primarily targeted  at a British audience, as an American expatriate living in the Kingdom of Thailand, I found this information compelling. Evans-Pritchard cited an assertion from Mirza Baig of BNP Paribas noting that foreign nationals bear significant currency risks in some of the nations in Southeast Asia. In Thailand, it appears that foreigners bear currency risks of 81%, while those expatriates living in Malaysia and India bear 90% and 74% risk, respectively. I have  dealt with the vicissitudes of currency fluctuation many times during my tenure in Thailand as the exchange rate between the Thai Baht and the US Dollar was around 39-1 when I first arrived in the Kingdom. Since then, I have seen the exchange rate fall (or rise depending upon your perspective) to around 27-1 and re-stabilize around 30-1. As of the time of this writing, the Baht-Dollar exchange rate stands at approximately 31-1. However, many are speculating that the Baht will lose value against the dollar in the coming months. This would likely be due to the perception that the Fed may begin to implement a kind of belt tightening after years of promoting liquidity.

Unlike times past, the actions of the Fed have increasingly serious implications in emerging markets. As the article noted, in the past when the Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker tightened up his belt, there were substantial ramifications in South America and elsewhere. The negative aspects of those policies on South American economies was containable. However, this was at a time when China was virtually isolated, and the Soviet Union did not really factor into the any analysis of the economic interactions between countries in the “Free World”. Meanwhile in the 1990′s Federal Reserve policies could negatively impact global economics more than before that period, such negative implications were still containable since there was a “power ratio” of around 1:2 between the United States economy and the emerging markets. This is no longer the case as the relationship has basically equalized. Should Fed policies have a substantial negative impact on the emerging markets, then the problem may not be contained within those markets and the economic problems could easily (and quickly, if there is anything to be learned from the financial crashes of the past decade) spill over into Western Europe and America.

In American politics, one cannot read articles and information regarding the United States’ stance on Southeast Asia without seeing the words “pivot”. The Obama administration has consistently noted that the U.S. wishes to see American foreign policy “pivot” to a more solid relationship with the nations in the Asia-Pacific region and those comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In fact the P-word has been cited in connection to the visit to Southeast Asia by the American Secretary of Defense. However, in light of recent events in the economic sphere it would appear that ASEAN countries and Thailand specifically may be “pivoting” themselves. For example, at the recent meeting between the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and the Foreign Minister of China it was noted that Sino-ASEAN trade increased five times compared to ten years ago. As of 2012, trade between China and ASEAN stood at approximately $400 billion. Clearly, China is becoming an increasingly important trading partner and in light of the fact that ASEAN and Thailand may not wish to be at the mercy of the Fed’s whims, further solidifying this relationship may prove to be an effective method for ASEAN nations to mitigate negative side effects caused by economic policies of both China and the United States.

In a recent interview, the Prime Minister of Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra, articulated a desire to see further investment in Thailand from China and supported such an investment due to Thailand’s position as the “strategic center” of ASEAN. “Thailand will be spending about 66 billion U.S. dollars in infrastructure. Especially, we will need the technology that China has, like high speed train,” Mrs. Yingluck stated. “And we know that the high-speed railway connecting Thailand and China will run from Thailand through Laos to China. So it will be an important part of Chinese investment in Thailand”. As the deadline for ASEAN integration comes ever closer it seems logical to assume that Thailand, the ASEAN jurisdictions, and China will all see a closer economic relationship begin to blossom. How this relationship will impact both diplomatic and trade relations with the United States remains to be seen, but American economic policy makers should be aware that the era of America being able to set economic and monetary policy with little thought to the implications in emerging Asian markets has passed.

 

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15th August 2013

In a recent press release from the United States Department of State, Daniel R. Russell, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, discussed the recent anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the interaction between the ASEAN economies and that of the United States. To quote directly from the recent press release posted on the State Department website:

As the Secretary noted in a statement last week on August 8, the anniversary of ASEAN’s founding, the United States is deeply committed to supporting and partnering with ASEAN…ASEAN is growing in importance. The ten ASEAN countries include two close U.S. treaty allies, valuable security partners, thriving democracies, and Muslim majority nations that are both moderate and influential. ASEAN represents the United States’ fifth largest trading partner and our fourth largest export market. Following U.S. accession to the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in 2009, and in a clear sign of our support for ASEAN, the United States became the first non-ASEAN country to establish a dedicated Mission to ASEAN in Jakarta in June 2010…

Those interested in reading this press release in detail are encouraged to click on the hyperlink noted above.

The United States government is clearly intent on increasing ties with the ASEAN region as the economies have such a significant impact upon the American economy. Meanwhile, many of the countries in ASEAN, including the Kingdom of Thailand, have long standing ties buttressed by cooperation politically, militarily, and economically . In short, the US-ASEAN relationship is a “win-win” for all concerned. The remarks noted above, were followed up by references to the upcoming implementation of a more integrated ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which is due to become a reality in 2015. To quote further from the aforementioned press release:

The ASEAN-U.S. partnership is grounded in cooperation across political, security, and cultural spheres. Our engagement with ASEAN has led to tangible results in such areas as maritime security, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief. Our work through the Lower Mekong Initiative has led to positive outcomes supporting the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 and development in the Lower Mekong sub-region. And the United States is committed to capacity building for the ASEAN Secretariat…

As the date for ASEAN economic integration draws increasingly close, the countries which comprise ASEAN (Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam) would appear to be waiting with bated breath to ascertain whether or not the transition will be a smooth one. It is this blogger’s opinion that the ASEAN Economic integration will in fact turn out to be a rather seamless transition as a great deal of time and effort has been expended by all parties to analyze possible problems and implement solutions prior to the integration itself. The United States has shown (through frequent Presidential visits to the ASEAN region as well as policies which provide support for ASEAN’s initiatives) that it is committed to not only engaging the ASEAN region, but also assisting in creating a mutually beneficial framework for US-ASEAN relations in the future.

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9th August 2013

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the regional bloc which includes Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, celebrated it’s 46th birthday. To quote directly from the website thepeninsulaqatar.com:

DOHA: Ambassadors of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Qatar were in accord, saying Asean will meet its target to integrate the 10 nations’ economies by end of 2015, as they celebrated the 46th Asean Day yesterday at the Vietnam Embassy…Singapore Ambassador Wong Kwok Pun cited some areas that Asean has made progress on the implementation of the Asean Charter. In particular, he pointed out Asean has made headway on disputes settlement mechanism, has been working towards the implementation of the roadmap for the Asean community, and taken big steps toward an integrated and sustained economic development…

The implementation of policies which would create an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) has been an oft-discussed topic among business and legal professionals throughout Southeast Asia. This issue is such a significant topic because by creating a unified Southeast Asian marketplace the countries which comprise ASEAN would become one of the largest markets in the world virtually overnight. That stated, there is a great deal of debate as to whether or not the transition into a unified market will occur smoothly. Some argue that the disparate laws, regulations, and policies throughout the ASEAN member states will not easily coalesce into a workable framework for businesses to operate in the region until governments in ASEAN can implement local policies to bring their regulations in line with the other ASEAN nations. On the  other hand, some argue that because ASEAN leaders have adopted a slow approach to integrating the ASEAN economies the nations which comprise this trading bloc will be able to integrate within the larger body relatively quickly.

Of further concern to both foreign nationals as well as nationals from ASEAN member nations is the promulgation of a single ASEAN visa scheme. Presently, there is not a single visa which one can obtain which would allow the bearer to travel unfettered throughout the the whole of ASEAN. However, leaders in some of the ASEAN countries are looking to remedy this. To quote from the website aseanvisa.com:

Ministers and tourism authorities of the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Indonesia have expressed their intention to collaborate with relevant government agencies and other stakeholders to facilitate travel in the region by developing a common smart visa system…According to www.smartvisa.travel, a smart visa is a digital paperless substitute for a traditional visa that can be obtained by a traveler from a travel agent or participating airline…

Clearly, steps are being taken to create some sort of travel document which would provide immigration benefits in multiple ASEAN nations simultaneously. The impetus behind the push for a single ASEAN visa seems to stem from two sources. First, many of the ASEAN nations would appear to view an ASEAN visa as a means of increasing tourism throughout ASEAN. This would appear to especially be a concern to officials in those Southeast Asian nations which do not benefit from high tourism as compared to their other ASEAN counterparts. By creating a visa which allows for access to more than one ASEAN jurisdiction tourist travel to some countries might increase as travelers are no longer deterred in making “side trips” to less popular destinations due to a desire to avoid the need to obtain another visa. Another consideration would appear to be business travel, as ASEAN economic integration continues to gather steam it stands to reason that more foreign nationals will need to visit multiple ASEAN jurisdictions in order to conduct business in the region. By implementing policies to provide for a single ASEAN visa, business travel may increase throughout the region.

The aforementioned article also mentions the recent decision by Thai and Cambodian Immigration authorities to provide a unified visa scheme for travelers wishing to visit those two countries. To quote further from the aseanvisa.com article:

It [the single ASEAN visa scheme] also builds on the single visa scheme for tourism travel between Cambodia and Thailand, which was implemented on January 1, 2013. Progressive relaxation and an Asean common visa would also benefit non-Asean nationals who intend to visit the Asean countries…

One can speculate whether or not the Thai-Cambodian visa scheme mentioned above will one day be consolidated into a pan-ASEAN visa scheme. There are certainly arguments as to the benefits of such an integration, most notably the probable increase in tourism to all of the ASEAN nations. However, one thing remains clear: it appears that virtually all leaders of the ASEAN nations are assiduously studying the ramifications of a single ASEAN visa scheme and should their findings prove that such a scheme would be a benefit to all of ASEAN; then it is likely that such a scheme will eventually come into existence.

For related information please see: Thailand visa.

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2nd September 2012

It is interesting to note that apparently Mainland China and Taiwan have signed an agreement streamlining currency and banking transactions occurring between these two jurisdictions, to provide further insight it is necessary to quote directly from the Channel News Asia website, ChannelNewsAsia.com:

TAIPEI: Taiwan and China on Friday signed a deal paving the way for Taiwanese banks to take Chinese yuan deposits and make yuan loans, in the latest agreement to boost trade between the former arch-rivals. The memorandum of understanding outlines the new arrangement, known as direct yuan clearing, which is expected to come into force in 60 days, Taiwan’s central bank said…The deal will also allow Taiwanese companies to issue yuan bonds and sell yuan-denominated investment products on the island, Taiwan’s central bank said…

Readers are encouraged to click the hyperlinks noted above to read this article in detail.

It will be interesting to see whether the promulgation of the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding noted above will effect the the economies of these two jurisdictions as it could be argued that these changes will foster greater synergy between these two markets which are both very strong in their own right.  This information is noted at the same time that there is speculation that the countries comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) may be the destination for future growth and investment. To quote from the website of the Vancouver Sun, VancouverSun.com

A growing number of U.S. companies plan to shift some operations from China to Southeast Asia in the next two years…a survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore showed…According to AmCham Singapore, 92 percent of the executives surveyed said they were positive about investment opportunities in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN – a regional grouping that comprises Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei. ”ASEAN is not only a vital U.S. trade and investment partner, it is a bright spot in the global economy,” said AmCham Vice President Tami Overby.

Please click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this article in detail.

Clearly it remains to be seen whether resources, financial or otherwise, will be shifted away from China in favor of ASEAN. In fact, it could be argued that there may simply be growing investment and positive economic activity in the region as a whole which would benefit both regions. In any case, notwithstanding a rather stagnant global economic environment, China and the Nations comprising ASEAN would seem clearly poised for growth in the future.

 

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20th February 2012

In previous postings on this web log the issue of a single travel document for use throughout the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been discussed. ASEAN includes many of the nations which comprise Southeast Asia including: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam. At the present time, it is not possible to obtain a visa or travel document which would allow entry into all of these nations as travelers must obtain a visa for each individual country before traveling thereto (in some cases, visas on arrival or visa exemptions may be obtained depending upon the local immigration rules and the passport holder’s nationality). Many travelers find that this situation can make traveling in Southeast Asia rather difficult as obtaining multiple visas from multiple Embassies and/or Consulates can be a time consuming endeavor. In an effort to remedy this situation, many of the ASEAN nations have voiced support for a single ASEAN visa scheme. However, efforts to implement a single ASEAN visa program have yet to bear fruit. Recently, it came to this blogger’s attention that the Vice-President of Indonesia has made comments in support of further efforts to facilitate a single ASEAN visa program. In order to provide further insight into these developments it is necessary to quote directly from a January 13th article posted on the website Philstar.com:

JAKARTA (Xinhua) – Indonesian Vice President Boediono asks the ASEAN to speed up implementation of a joint visa for the region in order to boost the number of foreign tourist arrivals and services in the industry in the region amid the global economic crisis threat, a statement from the vice presidential office said here on Friday…”The goal that we want to reach is not only the increasing number of tourist but also the improved quality of services and the sustainability of the visits,” Boediono said…ASEAN leaders had given commitment for the implementation of the facility during the 11th ASEAN Summit in Bali in Nov. 2011.

Readers are asked to click upon the hyperlink noted above to read this article in full.

There is little doubt that a single ASEAN visa scheme would provide benefits to ASEAN members in the form of increased tourism especially for destinations that are sometimes overlooked by travelers put off by the prospect of processing more than one visa application. One could also speculate that a single ASEAN visa would be beneficial to business travelers wishing to visit more than one ASEAN jurisdiction.

Currently, it does not appear as though a single ASEAN visa scheme will be implemented in the near future, but there is room to hope that progress will be made as it appears there are many officials in the region who support the notion of a single ASEAN visa, at least conceptually. Meanwhile, issues associated with visa procurement in Southeast Asia are evolving. To shed further light upon recent developments it is necessary to quote directly from the website Eturbonews.com:

For now, non-ASEAN travelers have to play with different rules for almost each country…Myanmar just announced at the end of last month to implement e-visa facilities and relax entry into the country.

In an interview conducted by the Myanmar Times newspaper, Union Minister U Tint San declared on February 1 that the government will try to introduce an e-visa system from March that would allow international visitors to apply from anywhere via the Internet before visiting Myanmar. In parallel, the e-visa would allow travelers to enter or exit from any border crossing point. The web address for the proposed e-visa site is www.myanmarevisa.gov.mm . At ATF, Phyoe Wai Yarzar, Secretary of the newly-formed Myanmar Tourist Board, explained that e-visa facilities would, in fact, be the most efficient way for the government to balance the absence of diplomatic representations.

They are also rumors that Vietnam would work on a e-visa solution. There is already the possibility of getting a pre- E-visa clearance in certain cases. But the procedure remains expensive and on a case-by-case basis. Officials from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism admitted during the ATF that lengthy visa formalities are certainly a major handicap to the development of tourism. Nothing official has been announced so far, but it seems that the government seems to realize that it has to change the way visa is provided if Vietnam does not want to lose out tourists to other destinations.

The administration of this web log encourages readers to visit the hyperlink noted above to read this article in detail.

In the past, the process for obtaining a visa to enter Myanmar (Burma) could be quite cumbersome. It has been this blogger’s relatively recent experience that obtaining a Myanmar visa is somewhat time consuming, but not particularly difficult compared to visa procurement for other nations in the region. Hopefully, the developments mentioned above will lead to further streamlining of visa processing for those wishing to enter countries such as Vietnam and Myanmar (Burma).

Although it remains to be seen when a single ASEAN visa scheme will be fully implemented ASEAN members appear committed to such an endeavor which will likely provide benefits for all concerned.

For related information please see: Thailand visa

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3rd October 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the dynamics of Sino-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam) relations has been a topic of discussion. In order to provide further insight into these matters it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of Bernama at Bernama.com.my:

KUALA LUMPUR, October 3 (Bernama-AsiaNet) — The economic relation between China and the ASEAN is very close despite the territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The establishment of the China and ASEAN Free Trade Area creates the world’s largest free trade area that comprises developed countries and has 1.9 billion consumers, a GDP of nearly US$6 trillion and foreign trade totaling US$4.5 trillion…

This blogger asks readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this article in detail.

It would seem that many feel as though there will likely be further economic benefits derived from further economic cooperation between China and the countries which comprise ASEAN. In the context of specific countries, such as Thailand, this benefit may be further magnified by bilateral relations with the US. Thailand maintains a strong economic relationship with the United States as enshrined by the US-Thai Treaty of Amity. Bearing this in mind, the dynamics of Asian economics is subtle and multifaceted. That stated, there are many indications that the economies of Asia will continue to economically thrive in the future.

In news pertaining to travel matters in the United States it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been recently analyzed for what appears to have been an invasive pat down of a woman who had been afflicted with breast cancer. In order to provide further information regarding this situation it is necessary to quote directly from a posting by Lori Dorn via Boing Boing on the website Gizmodo.com:

Lori Dorn, the wife of Laughing Squid’s Scott Beale, recently submitted to a backscatter scan at JFK airport. The TSA pulled her aside for a breast patdown, even though she stated she had breast implants in place after her bilateral mastectomy. Of course, that didn’t stop them. They didn’t even let her take out the Device Identification Card that would could have explained where the implants came from and their medical purpose. No. Instead they humiliated her in public…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the aforementioned hyperlinks to read more from this interesting article.

In this blogger’s mind, there is no question that security should be a concern for travelers both in the US and abroad. However, usage of the term “security” as an umbrella term to allow for the humiliation of a breast cancer survivor seems rather draconian especially in light of the fact that the woman in question apparently had a Device Identification Card for just such occasions seems perplexing, to say the least. Hopefully measures will be taken to provide some sort of protection for travelers with disabilities so as to address safety concerns while simultaneously preventing humiliation while traveling.

– Benjamin Walter Hart

For information pertaining to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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2nd October 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the President of the Philippines has voiced his belief in the advisability of further integration of the economies in the countries which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam). In order to provide further insight into these comments it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of Asia One at AsiaOne.com:

Asean must take advantage of opportunities at a time when the world’s traditional growth centres are slowing down, Philippine President Benigno S Aquino III yesterday said. At the close of Asia Inc Forum’s Asean 100 Leadership Forum here, Aquino said for Asean to grow further, it is necessary for the member states to work together to continue to maintain peace, stability and an environment that attracts investments. “I am aware that the diversity in Asean makes it difficult to completely agree with one another on some issues, but this has not stopped us from collaborating on the economic front, and integration has always helped us push our economies.”

This blogger encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this interesting article in detail.

There seem to be few who question the soundness of the idea that economic integration in ASEAN would provide benefits to the citizens of all of the economies at issue. That stated, ASEAN is a unique regional bloc due to the fact that it has utilized a relatively slow economic integration process which has allowed the participating members to provide mutual benefits to one another while simultaneously allowing the member nations to respect the views of each other regarding national interest and foreign policy, especially in a global context.

Meanwhile, another ASEAN member; specifically the Kingdom of Thailand, has recently been the topic of an article about that nation’s relationship with the United States. In order to provide further context it is necessary to quote directly from an article by Walter Lohman posted to the official website of The Heritage Foundation at Heritage.org:

The United States and Thailand have enjoyed more than a century and a half of close relations, beginning with the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce in 1833. They fought side by side on the Korean Peninsula and fought together again in Vietnam. However, as a result of U.S. withdrawal from Indochina, both nations’ 1970s rapprochement with China, and China’s subsequent rise to major power status, the alliance has struggled for lack of shared strategic purpose…As critical as this cooperation is, it is not enough to reconstitute a grand strategy on the scale of the Cold War. But rediscovering shared purpose in the U.S.–Thai alliance does not require a grand strategy. The regional dynamic is too complex, Thailand’s position ambivalent, and America’s own relationships in the region too varied and layered to foster a strategic meeting of the minds with Thailand…Both U.S. and Thai officials praise Cobra Gold as a pillar of the cooperation and interoperability of the U.S. and Thai militaries, an achievement that has proved useful for military missions, such as joint patrols of vital sea lanes, and noncombat missions, such as disaster relief following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2008 Cyclone Nargis in Burma.[1] Two other major joint exercises are the annual CARAT (Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training) naval exercises[2] and Cope Tiger, an exercise involving both countries’ air forces…[3]

The administration of this web log asks readers to click upon the aforementioned hyperlinks in order to read this article in detail.

This blogger must take note of the rather precise understanding of the complex interplay of relationships between Asian countries in the context of global diplomacy. It is especially gratifying to see that type understanding in an analysis of US-Thai relations. A prime example of how some such relationships smoothly operate over time can be viewed in an analysis the relationship between the United States and Thailand. The US-Thai Treaty of Amity has proven to be a useful platform for Thai-American business while simultaneously having the ancillary benefit of providing new business opportunities in the economies of the surrounding nations. Hopefully the same trend will continue and similar situations will arise in the other ASEAN economies which foster and facilitate sustainable regional growth for the whole of ASEAN.

For information pertaining to procurement of legal services in the Kingdom of Thailand or the Greater ASEAN region please see: Legal.

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27th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the question of ASEAN economic integration may be a topic of discussion at an upcoming forum. In order to provide further insight it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of Asia One, AsiaOne.com:

BRUNEI – Just how close is Asean to becoming “One Asian”? That’s one of the main questions, executives, government leaders and members of civil society will tackle in the upcoming Asean 100 Leadership Forum, said Dato Paduka Timothy Ong (pic), Asia Inc Forum founder and chairman. As the convenor of the Asean 100 forum, Dato Ong hopes the forum will provide an avenue for people to agree, or disagree to “learn from each other effectively”. The One Asean question is one of two questions that Dato Ong finds important in order to help Asean businesses and leaders advance further. “Some people will say we are close, some will say we are not close, but no one will say we are already there. So how close are we and what do we need to do to get to ‘One Asean’?” The second question was made to be “slightly provocative”, where Asean 100 asked if the Philippines can be the next “Asian Tiger”…

The administration of this web log encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above in order to read this insightful article in detail.

As frequent readers of this blog may be aware, there has been much discussion pertaining to the jurisdictions which comprise ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam) especially regarding the future ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). In fact, there has been some speculation that a unified ASEAN visa scheme may be employed in order to streamline travel in the region, but such developments have yet to come to fruition. The future of ASEAN and Greater Asia is a matter of speculation for many, but there is reason to believe that the ASEAN economies will be robust in the coming years.

In matters pertaining specifically to the Kingdom of Thailand it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the amount of certain Condominiums in Greater Bangkok has apparently declined in recent months. For further clarity it is necessary to quote directly from the Property Report website, Property-Report.com:

The supply of new condominiums in Greater Bangkok has declined an estimated 10 per cent this year, while the number of new low-rise units is increasing, according to a report released by the Real Estate Information Center (REIC). Land allotment permits for low-rise units, excluding vacant land lots totalled 27,400 units in the first half of the year, up from 19,800 in the same period of last year. The increase in low-rise units is expected to equal the peak witnessed in 2005. According to the Bangkok Post, last year, low-rise permits totalled about 51,400 units, up from about 42,600 units in 2009. Meanwhile, the number of new high-rise housing construction permits in Greater Bangkok in the first quarter dropped to 260 buildings containing 1.51 million sqm from 302 buildings with 1.59 million sqm in the fourth quarter of 2010…

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Many foreign nationals in Thailand opt to purchase a Thai Condo since it may be possible to gain freehold title to such property. Such title is also referred to as Chanote Title in Thai. That stated, there are concerns among many foreign real estate purchasers regarding the conveyancing of such property so some opt to retain the services of an attorney in Thailand to assist with such an endeavor.

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