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Single Internet gateway project sparks Thai Netizens Uproar
With a well-developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, generally pro-investment policies, and strong export industries, Thailand enjoyed solid growth from 2000 to 2008 – averaging more than 4% per year – as it recovered from the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. Thai exports – mostly machinery and electronic components, agricultural commodities, and jewelry – continue to drive the economy, accounting for as much as three-quarters of GDP. The global financial crisis of 2008-09 severely cut Thailand’s exports, with most sectors experiencing double-digit drops. In 2009, the economy contracted about 2.8%. The Thai government is focusing on financing domestic infrastructure projects and stimulus programs to revive the economy, as external trade is still recovering and persistent internal political tension and investment disputes threaten to damage the investment climate.
Base effects are expected to lead to an increase in inflation readings in the fourth quarter of 2009 and into 2010, but monetary policy is likely to remain accommodative. In the same way that the deflation in 2009 has not warranted a more aggressive monetary policy reaction despite the Bank of Thailand having a lower bound of zero on its inflation target, positive inflation in 2010 should not lead to aggressive tightening either, and the Bank of Thailand is not expected to raise rates until the second half of 2010 despite rising inflation readings.
Social and political stability
Thailand is a foreigner friendly and welcoming Buddhist country. The country’s form of government is a constitutional monarchy, with a high reverence for the Thai Monarchy, and devotion to the teachings of Buddhism. And although the vast majority of the people in Thailand are Buddhist, all religions are welcome, and His Majesty the King is the patron of all religions.
Thailand’s Growing economy
Economically, this country of 65 million people is characterized by steady growth, strong exports and a vibrant domestic consumer market. Abundant natural resources and a skilled and cost-effective work force help attract foreign investors, and enable them to prosper and develop industry in Thailand.
Thailand has good infrastructure with modernized transportation facilities, as well as upgraded communications and IT networks that ensure optimum business and living conditions. State-of-the-art industrial estates boast sophisticated facilities and superior services.
EGAT has also announced its solicitations for power purchase from IPP projects to enhance competition in the generation business. This has been followed by power purchase from small power producers (SPPs) to particularly promote energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy resources for electricity generation.
In terms of international cooperation, EGAT has collaborated with neighboring countries in pursuing the ASEAN Power Grid Project to integrate the transmission systems within ASEAN countries for energy security and mutual economic benefits. The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand is also in talks with neighbouring countries, to make joint developments in hydropower projects.
Amidst changes and challenges, EGAT has been and will be tirelessly developing the country’s electric power system to ensure that its electricity supply remains the most secure and reliable infrastructure service which contributes significantly to the betterment of the quality of life and the environment and drives the country’s economic and social growth in the future. The expertise and experience gained over 35 years of operation have provided EGAT with the multi-faceted power and strength needed in maintaining its leadership and a competitive edge in the new business environment.