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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        18  May 2011

Foreign businesses hope for Thai stability

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Foreign business leaders are hoping for more political stability after Thailand's general election while calling on the new government to promise more consistent policies and open up the economy.

Nandor von der Luehe, chairman of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand (JFCCT), said the economy had performed well in recent years as exports had not been affected by domestic political strife.

While political reconciliation has not been achieved, the election could bring it a step forward. "I think it is difficult [for reconciliation] as Thais are widely divided," said Mr. von der Luehe. "It is important that the results of the election and the new government are accepted by all sides so that things can move forward."

He said the Democrat-led administration had listened to the concerns of foreign business communities, who expect the new government will continue to be receptive.

Amendments to the Foreign Business Act, especially opening up the service sector, will increase Thailand's attractiveness in the eyes of foreign investors.

When the Asean Economic Community is established in 2015, Thailand should be able to maintain its leading position in the region, Mr Von der Luehe said.

But Thailand could do more to make it easier to do business, he noted. In the World Bank's "Doing Business 2011" index, Thailand's ranking slipped to 19th from 16th in the previous survey. Nonetheless, the kingdom still outperformed all regional peers except Singapore and Hong Kong. Malaysia, for example, placed 21st (up from 23rd), Vietnam 77th (up from 88th) and Indonesia 121st (down from 115th).

Mr. von der Luehe and other foreign chamber members also want corruption in Thailand to be tackled.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   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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