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 Friday, July 21 2017 6:46am Hongkong Time

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Regional news picks: Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

Current affairs affecting Asia and the Greater China region


Raymond Cheng





  • Thai bourse wants firms to follow ThaiBev (Thai Beverage Pcl) abroad - annual economic growth rates of 4 to 5 percent are "not as exciting as the countries surrounding us"... Thailand's economy is about twice the combined size of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam - Bloomberg BusinessWeek (2012/08/29)
  • Analysis: Public works may cushion blow for SE Asia as exports sag - in western Thailand, land is being bulldozed for a highway into Myanmar; Indonesia prepares for more railways and airports; Singapore has unveiled plans for a new subway line - Chicago Tribune (2012/09/02)
  • Gay policy In Thailand: "Don't ask, don't care" - it is possible for sexuality to be treated with such indifference - Nyack News and Views (2012/09/02)
  • Land in Thailand:
    1. Introduction - absolute monarchy (Sukhothai period lasted from roughly the 12th to the 14th centuries AD); some rights that could be transferred or inherited (Ayuthaya period lasted from the 14th to the 18th centuries); absolute monarchy (Rattanakosin period, which began in 1782); constitutional monarchy began in 1932 and the issuance of Title Deed Acts from 1909 to 1943 paved the modern rights - Bangkok Post (2012/09/02)
    2. The Land Code and the constitution - enacted in 1954 and last amended in 2008, the Land Code consolidated and made consistent the earlier laws relating to land; sets up a system of rules that govern the ownership of land etc. - Bangkok Post (2012/09/09)
    3. Can the government take it away? - yes, they can, but certainly for a reason - Bangkok Post (2012/09/16)
    4. Expropriation – Let the buyer beware - if you buy or long-lease after the government has decided to expropriate land and you don't know about that decision, there's really not much you can do - Bangkok Post (2012/09/23) - the other parts of the discussion moves into the more detail knowledge of property rights and you should Google them if you are interested
  • Thailand to explore mining activities In Mozambique - where enormous reserves of natural gas have been found - Bernama (2012/09/03)
  • Thailand ranks 38th in competitiveness - Thailand's global competitiveness ranking has risen one place, to 38th, breaking a six-year streak of declines; ranking fell 10 places in terms of institutions to 77th, while public health at 71st and basic education standards at 89th were also considered weaknesses for the country's competitiveness - Bangkok Post (2012/09/05)
  • Tourism Authority of Thailand to encourage growth of medical tourism sector - 2.24 million foreign visitors came to Thailand for medical purposes in 2011, generating 97.8 billion Baht in income; number of medical tourism visitors is expected to rise to 2.53 million in 2012 - Sunstar (2012/09/05)
  • Thailand blames Myanmar after massive drug haul - a senior Thai politician on Thursday accused neighbouring Myanmar of failing to tackle drug production after 3.3 million amphetamine tablets were seized in Bangkok - My Sinchew (2012/09/06)
  • Thailand stresses its role as world food producer, insurer of food reserves PM Yingluck Shinawatra stressed Thailand's role as the world's food production house and its readiness to reach out to those in need in times of emergencies and crises, not only by providing food but also through other forms of emergency assistance, to countries in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond; she said leaders agreed that free trade should not be obstructed by trading measures - Pattaya Mail (2012/09/11)
  • Thailand's sugar exports to ease in 2012/13-industry official - sugar exports from Thailand, the world's no.2 exporter, are likely ease to 7.5 million tonnes in 2012/13 from 7.7 million tonnes in the current year as production falls on poor rainfall in cane-growing areas - Reuters (2012/09/11)
  • Thailand to review taxes on overseas corporate investment - Thailand is looking at how to modify its current tax measures that cause its businesses to suffer double taxation on their overseas investments, thereby supporting Thai outward foreign direct investment; on the other side, the government has been active in attracting FDI by lowering corporate tax from 30% to 23% this year, with a plan to adjust to 20% in 2013 - Tax News (2012/09/17)
  • Southern Philippines deal offers potential lesson for Southern Thailand? - could Yingluck Shinawatra possibly do the same? Rather unlikely though - (2012/10/15)
    1. Philippines signs framework deal with Muslim rebels - preliminary peace agreement signed with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Manlia; focus turn to the new common enemy, China - Council on Foreign Relations (2012/10/09)
    2. Philippines peace agreement a lesson for Thailand - deal ends Philippine's 40-year insurgency war for which 5000 have died - Bankok Post (2012/10/16)
  • Thailand to step up rubber-purchase program as prices gain - also proceed with plans agreed with Indonesia and Malaysia in August to cut its shipments by 150,000 tons while rubber in Tokyo is entering a bull market, rebounding from a near three-year low - Bloomberg (2012/11/21) - Thailand is the world's biggest rubber producer
  • Thailand eyes neighbours' power supply - was 8,500 megawatts ten years ago, now 20,000 megawatts more from Laos (hydropower) and Myanmar (coal-fired and hydro), all within 20% of what Thailand needs - Bangkok Post (2012/11/22)
  • How will Thailand react to a new US-China tug-of-war? - Thailand has shown "interest" in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as well as the new Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), will the two "free trade" ideas collide or complement each other - China Post (2012/12/07)


  • Travelogue: After 50 years of solitude, Myanmar welcomes company - after decades of isolation, Myanmar is hungry for tourists - Boston Globe (2012/08/26)
  • Myanmar may allow private daily newspapers next year - marking the boldest media reform yet, and meeting a central demand of advocates for press freedom - Editor and Publisher (2012/09/04)
  • China chastised for sending Kachin people back to Myanmar - China has expelled 5,000 ethnic Kachin people who fled fighting between rebels and Myanmar troops; U.N. refugee agency calls upon China to protect and shelter the displaced people - LA Times (2012/09/07)
  • Next three years will be crucial - Thai investors should seize the opportunity to invest in Myanmar within the next three years before the ASEAN Economic Community is formed in 2015 - Bangkok Post (2012/09/10)
  • Burmese migrants in Thailand await changes back home - it seems that the Burmese government, the ministry of labor is to be taking up the issue of migrant workers and so hopefully they will start to put a little pressure on Thailand to improve the conditions there - VOA News (2012/09/10)
  • What might the US buy from Myanmar? - US about to lift restrictions on exports; Myanmar, the former top powerhouse of rice, also rich in energy resources (both oil and gas), needs huge investment and development - Financial Times (2012/09/10)
    - meanwhile, a pipeline carrying both from Myanmar's Andaman coast into China's Yunnan province will begin operating next year
  • Japan vows aid for Myanmar, urges debt resolution - Myanmar owes about $950 million to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank; they last extended loans in the late 1980s; Myanmar to focus on infrastructure such as power generation, roads, ports and rural development - BusinessWeek (2012/10/11)
  • Invited for the first time: "Military outreach seen as new step in engaging Burma" - the invitation is part of the international response to the government's political reforms - VOA News (2012/10/20)
  • Myanmar, Laos see large increase in opium cultivation, U.N. says - amount of land used to grow opium in Myanmar increased 17% during 2011, the sixth straight annual increase; Myannmar is the second-largest opium grower in the world after Afghanistan - LA Times (2012/10/31)
  • Myanmar moving from North Korea - the country has taken "positive steps" to reduce its military relationship with North Korea, ahead of a historic visit by President Barack Obama to Yangon - iAfrica (2012/11/18) - and so as to naturally allows: "South Korea to boost Myanmar ties" - Seoul wants to help Myanmar create greater economic opportunities for its people - Bangkok Post (2013/01/29)

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