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Asean Affairs  17  February 2011

China and Asean-a good fit?

By  David Swartzentruber

AseanAffairs     17 February 2011

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When western companies move to China, questions of protection of their intellectual property rights (IPR) usually arise. IPR issues are always a contentious in the China context. Recently, the Chinese government has taken aggressive steps to improve the enforcement of IPR matters within its borders to make it less threatening for foreign companies to locate there.

However, what will happen when China moves its technology not into western countries but its Asean neighbors? Will they share their technology with their neighbors? A “test case” for this scenario may be developing in Thailand.

Today the Thai government proposed to take a 60 percent stake in a joint venture with China to construct a 620-kilometer high-speed railroad between Nong Khai on the Cambodian border and Bangkok. The agreement is expected to be signed in April.

The involvement of China should be beneficial to Thailand as the State Railway has been in the red for many years. Hopefully, with improved high-speed railways more passengers will be attracted to the system, especially from the tourist sector, and the state railway system can stage a comeback.

Thailand hopes that the train carriages will be built in Thailand and if that occurs, a technology transfer would need to occur. The two countries are slated to discuss this issue and it will be of great interest to see what the outcome will be as China develops its relationships with its Asean neighbors.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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