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Thailand at the turn of the century


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Transcript of "Thailand at the turn of the century"

  1. 1. THAILAND AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY (for TG) 1 Thailand, for one, as a pillar of the fast-growing Asian region, has made sure and steady strides over the years to ensure its place in the global community. 2 A country often compared with the Philippines for a score of reasons, Thailand, like the Philippines, is a nation of 60 million. It has an area of 513,115 sq. kms. and enjoys a climate typical of countries in the tropics; thus, its’ traditional proclivity for agrarian-based economic activity. 3 Notwithstanding, a shift from agriculture to manufacturing, Thailand continues to edge out its neighbors in terms of natural resources, what with the bounty of its land and sea which has made it the world’s foremost exporter of tapioca and rice. In addition, it is also a leader in production of maize, frozen shrimp, canned pineapple, natural rubber and sugar. 4 However, in the late 80’s and the 90’s, Thailand restructured its economy to adapt to the demands of an urbanizing international community. 5 As a result, the share of the agricultural sector in Thailand’s national income has declined from a high of 40 percent in 1960 to 17 percent during early 90’s. 6 Concomitantly, the manufacturing sector experienced strong growth, expanding rapidly in its share of the national income from 13 percent in 1960 to over 30 percent in the 90’s. With the implementation of the first industrial Promotion Act in 1960 and various promotional programs undertaken by the Board of Investment, the way was paved for the remarkable growth of the manufacturing sector. 7 Initially, industrial activity focused on food processing and import substitution. However, in the 90’s, Thailand has developed heavily into export promotion, notably textiles and garments, which accounted for 34.5 per cent of principal exports in 1994 against the 12.7 percent output of canned food in the same year. On the whole, the industrial sector’s creditable performance became a plus factor for Thailand because policy-makers knew exactly where there was a need to put on weight to achieve an ideal balance among the various diversified industries that the changing economy helped to bring about. 8It is equally worth noting that at the highest point of Thailand’s growth at the close of the last decade, the highest income generator and largest foreign exchange contributor for Thailand was its tourism sector. With the full backing of the Royal Thai Government extended to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the sector grew by a hefty 16 percent per annum. 9 In addition to glowing figures posted by Thailand in the area of manufacturing, tourism and foreign investment, much of its success can also be attributed to the growing independence of countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and in the burgeoning Asian-Pacific region. 10Thailand rides high in this era of growth and is well on its way to an age of prosperity at the turn of the century. 11 From 1988-1991, Thailand’s growth rate averaged 12.5 percent, the highest in the world. Since 1993 when its economy rebounded from a worldwide recession in the early 90’s, the Thai economy has experienced steady gains reminiscent of the growth patterns of developed countries in the West. Moving Ahead in English II ,pp 30-31,Myrna S.Torres.