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Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of January 30, 2015

Thailand’s 2010 GDP growth is projected at 3.5%, driven by domestic demand. In the context of weaker global demand in 2010, exports will grow modestly, but the restocking cycle and slow rebound in investment also imply a pick-up in imports, which results in muted net external demand. Public and private investment add 0.8% point to the growth rate, while normal stocking patterns provide a boost to growth of 1.5 % points . Thailand’s Household consumption picks up modestly, adding 0.8 percentage point to the growth rate, whereas public consumption decelerates from 2009 levels but still adds 0.4 percentage point.

FDI policies

The country’s well-defined investment policies focus on liberalization and encourage free trade. Foreign investments, especially those that contribute to the development of skills, technology and innovation are actively promoted by the government. Thailand consistently ranks among the most attractive investment locations in international surveys, and the World Bank’s 2010 Ease of Doing Business report places Thailand as the 12th easiest country in the world in which to do business.

Government support and incentives are provided for foreign investors in Thailand

Numerous government agencies support investors. Through the Board of Investment, the government offers a range of tax incentives, support services and import duty exemptions or reductions to an extensive list of promoted activities.
Companies receiving investment promotion privileges from the Board of Investment are not subject to foreign equity restrictions in the manufacturing sector, and there are no local content requirements nor export requirements, as Thailand’s investment regime is in total compliance with WTO regulations.
The Board of Investment also coordinates the activity of the One-Stop Service Center for Visas and Work Permits, which enables foreign staff of BOI-promoted companies to obtain work permits and long-term visas within three hours or less.
The BOI also administers the One Start One Stop Investment Center, which opened in November 2009 to facilitate a full range of services and streamline investment procedures by bringing representatives from more than 20 government agencies under one roof.
In addition to the activities of the BOI, other government organizations, such as the Department of Export Promotion and international chambers of commerce, provide invaluable support and a host of other important services.

The words of the Thai Royal Anthem, performed at most official ceremonies and before the start of every movie, may strike a Western ear as somewhat archaic.

After all, the system of absolute monarchy ended in 1932, following a revolution staged by a small group of disaffected civil servants and military men. Since then, Thai kings have ruled under a constitution; their powers theoretically no greater than those of European monarchs. Yet, since he was officially crowned in 1946, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej has assumed the role of constitutional monarch and has worked tirelessly on behalf of his people, gaining a measure of personal devotion that is probably more intense than that felt for any of his all-powerful ancestors. It has been said that Their Majesties King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit are the hardest working royal couple in the world with a work load once estimated to be equal to at least one function every day of the year. Of the several institutions that form the foundation of modern Thai life, the one His Majesty represents is not only the most visible but also the most revered.

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