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Can Thailand’s Economy Survive its Politics?

Looking at the empty hotels, shopping malls and office buildings in bamboo-barricaded Ratchaprasong, Thailand’s economy appears headed back into recession. Yet a glance at the ports on the Eastern Seaboard paints a different picture: Exports grew 41 percent in March and the central bank expects them to rise 28 percent for the year

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Looking at the empty hotels, shopping malls and office buildings in bamboo-barricaded Ratchaprasong, Thailand’s economy appears headed back into recession. Yet a glance at the ports on the Eastern Seaboard paints a different picture: Exports grew 41 percent in March and the central bank expects them to rise 28 percent for the year. The Bank of Thailand last month boosted its economic growth forecast to as much as 5.8 percent, which would be the country’s best performance since 2004.

The government has acknowledged that the protests will drag down economic growth, but to what extent? Can Thailand continue to sell enough goods overseas and attract enough companies that want to use the country as a production base to offset losses from political protests? Or is Thailand at the early stages of a steady decline where foreign investors pass on the country in favor of more stable locations in the region like Vietnam or Indonesia?

We are pleased to welcome Kiat Sittheeamorn, Thailand’s Trade Representative and one of the ruling party’s most experienced economic policy makers, to help answer these questions and more.

Khun Kiat studied Politics and Government at King Prajadhipok’s Institute, and later graduated from Harvard Business School (OPM 25), going on to complete a Masters of Art Degree in International Affairs at Fletcher School, USA.

He also, along the way, obtained a Bachelors Degree in Engineering at Chulalongkorn University.

He has been Advisor to the House Standing Committee on Economic Development and Commerce; Advisor to the Board of International Chamber of Commerce, Thailand; a Member of Parliament (2005-2006); Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC-Thailand); on the Board of the World International Chamber of Commerce, Paris; Deputy Secretary General of Thailand’s  Board of Trade; Director of the Thai Chamber of Commerce; Advisor to the Governor of Bangkok; Director of the Foreign Business Board;  on the Executive Board of  Chulalongkorn University’s Centre for European Studies; Director of Thammasart University’s Faculty of Commerce and Accountancy; Advisor to the Prime Minister;  Director of the Trade Competition Board; Chairman of the Thai Commercial Arbitration Committee; and Director of the Court of Arbitration at the ICC in Paris.

In the first 10 years of his career, he worked with Group Schneider, a France-based multinational corporation. Stationed in Malaysia and Singapore, his responsibility included business operations in 11 South-East Asian countries.

He has also been Advisor to House and Senate Committees in Commerce, Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Science, Technology & Environment, Banking and Financial institutions.

He was appointed as Thailand’s representative in the East Asia Vision Group to determine future co-operative frameworks between ASEAN and China, South Korea and Japan in economic, political, social and regional security.

We are pleased to welcome Kiat Sittheeamorn for our new Tuesday lunch talk series. Do join us for a talk and Q & A with an engaging speaker and personality, on a critical issue for Thailand and the international investor community.

Registration for the event begins at noon followed by lunch.

Kiat takes the floor at 12.30pm, followed by a Q&A.Boom or Doom: Can Thailand’s Economy Survive its Politics?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 Lunch with Kiat Sittheeamorn Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand | Penthouse, Maneeya Center | 518/5 Ploenchit Road, Patumwan | Tel.: 02-652-0580-1, info@fccthai.com | Bangkok | 10330 | Thailand

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