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Magazine of the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand Issue 1/2013

On Board for 2013 The Brief

Issue 1/2013


Contents BCCT

Board of Directors 2013 Chairman Simon Landy Colliers International Thailand T: 02 656 7000



Vice Chairman & Treasurer John Sim PKF Tax and Consulting Services (Thailand) Ltd. T: 02 679-5100 Vice Chairmen Viriya (Boyd) Chongphaisal GlaxoSmithKline T: 02 659 3000 Simon Matthews ManpowerGroup Thailand T: 02 634 7273 Chris Thatcher Anglo-Thai Legal Co., Ltd. T: 085 064 8884 Directors Joe Barker-Bennett Crestcom International Ltd. T: 02 231 8270


Gary Biesty South Asia Law Co., Ltd T: 02 636 0585 David Cumming Onyx Hospitality Group (Amari Orchid Pattaya) T: 02 255 3767 Stephen Frost Bangkok International Associates T: 02 231 6201/6455 Andrew McBean Grant Thornton T: 02 205 8222 Email: Rituraj Mohan Boots Retail (Thailand) Ltd T: 02 694 5900 Sriram Narayan British Airways PLC T: 02 627 1723 Siew Meng Tan HSBC T: 02 614 4040 Thana Thiramanus Property Care Services (Thailand) Ltd. T: 2741-8800 2

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This Edition


BOI sets pace for new investment


Uncertain outlook for global economy


Asia Pacific trade challenged by weak demand and barriers


BCCT briefs Thailand’s immigration chief


Ambassador puts stamp on new UK visa centre


Opportunities continue for Myanmar investment


Fund management needs woman’s touch


Bangkok office rents hit record levels

Issue 1/2013 The Brief is published by: British Chamber of Commerce Thailand For advertising and editorial enquiries, please contact Greg Watkins, Executive Director - BCCT Production: Scand-Media Corp., Ltd, Bangkok Editor: Dale Lawrence The views expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand or of the publisher. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand is strictly prohibited.






Every Edition


Chairman’s Message


Executive Director’s Message


Milestone for UK-Thai trade


British Council showcases best of British education


Toy story as NIST backs library project


Time to branch out


By the Numbers


Chamber events

British Chamber of Commerce Thailand 7th Floor, 208 Wireless Road Bangkok 10330, Thailand Tel: 02-651 5350/3 Fax: 02-651 5354 Website: Email: Greg Watkins, Executive Director Front cover: The 2013 BCCT Board of Directors, pictured at the Chamber’s recent AGM.

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You are invited to our

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The fun starts at10.00am and finishes at 1.00pm

Free Shuttle Bus to and from the MRT at the Thailand Cultural Centre, Exit 2.

Reserve your tickets today! Visit our KIS Facebook page for reservations and event schedule: Email:

Address: 999/124 Kesinee Ville, Pracha Utit Road, Huay Kwang, Bangkok 10320 For directions go to:

Chairman’s Message


ven though they were denied the cliffhanger suspense of an election this year, a good cross-section of the membership turned up for the AGM at The Landmark Hotel on 23 January, for which many thanks. In the best democratic tradition of certain Central Asian republics, the Board was elected on the nod as there were only 14 nominations for the 14 places available. Our glass half-full interpretation would be that this reflects general satisfaction with the status quo and a desire for continuity and developing the agreed business plan. The half-empty crew may well have a different interpretation but in the best interests of our sanity we’ll stick with the optimists!

Simon Landy Sterling Partners

Corporate Partners

Despite continuity, there are some inevitable changes. Two of last years’ vicechairmen, Matt Lobner and Dean Thompson, were promoted within their respective organisations and moved to the UK in deepest winter. Richard Greaves also stood down due to increasing work commitments. All played important roles in last year’s Board and they will be sorely missed. Newcomers include Siew Meng Tan at HSBC and Rituraj Mohan at Boots as well as Joe Barker-Bennett from Crestcom and Thana Thiramanus from PCS. The new Vice Chairmen, joining John Sim and Simon Matthews, are Boyd Chongphaisal and Chris Thatcher. In the last quarter of 2012 the Board and the BCCT office worked on developing a business plan for the Chamber. It was approved following a special offsite meeting with the Board and Group Chairs in early December. While much of the plan deals with ongoing service issues – events and other membership services – there are a few new or newly emphasised areas that should be noted. Potentially the most significant of these is the development of an initiative for the Chamber to work more closely with UKTI in providing services to British companies establishing a presence in Thailand. The Chamber already offers much of these services but the British Government, and particularly the Business Minister Lord Green, believes that chambers of commerce have great potential to develop these services further. A top echelon of some 20 chambers around the world has been identified as being mature and established enough to spearhead this ‘Headstart’ programme. The BCCT is considered one of the leaders within this top echelon. Another new direction that evolved in 2012 is our accelerated match-making efforts between graduates of UK universities and our member companies. An example is an event organised with the Thai students’ association in Manchester. This follows on from our participation in the British Council’s UK Education Fair in Bangkok in January.

Supporting Partners

Advocacy efforts this year are likely to revolve around a number of key developments, of which two are of particular note. First is the upcoming Free Trade Agreement negotiation between Thailand and the EU. The Thai Government appears ready to fully engage in these long-delayed talks. The main channel for representing the interests of business will be the European-ASEAN Business Centre, where our members are very active both at the committee level and in its various advocacy groups. Secondly, and more immediately, the proposed new strategy of the Board of Investment is currently undergoing a public hearing process. The proposals include significant changes to the current regime. Some companies will see their business lines taken off the list of promoted activities while others will have opportunities for incentives for the first time. The Chamber has held discussions with the BOI on some of these aspects and our Legal & Tax Group is preparing a submission that will emphasise the need to enhance the BOI’s promotion of services and education, while advising caution on the suspension of certain incentives.

Annual Airline Partners

In both of these lobbying efforts we seek to represent our members’ interests to the best of our ability. To do this effectively, we require as much input as possible from the membership. These changes represent both an opportunity to push for some of the changes we have long fought for as well as a threat to some established ways of doing business. I therefore urge you to take a look at the proposals from the BOI: http:// Let us know your views so that we can input into our submissions. The Brief

Issue 1/2013


British Chamber of Commerce Thailand The Brief is the British Chamber of Commerce members magazine. It contains feature articles on major issues of interest to all businesses in Thailand, reports on BCCT speaker presentations, interviews with dignitaries in Britain and Thailand and BCCT member news. It is available in print and online version. The print version

is distributed to BCCT members, business executives in Thailand and overseas, other foreign chambers in Thailand and overseas, and a number of key government organisations in Thailand. It is also available at all BCCT events throughout the year. Online copies can be found at

To book or request rates for multiple issues please contact: Sarinthorn (Jyoti) Sachavirawong, Deputy Director Email: | Tel: +66 (0) 651 5350-3

Executive Director’s Message


he BCCT hit the ground running in January, culminating in the AGM with British Ambassador Mark Kent as guest speaker and the election of a new and enthusiastic Board of Directors. My first message of the year provides a very good opportunity to highlight some of the many but less apparent benefits of BCCT membership:


• ‘Business Centre’ service – at the BCCT office: free use of boardroom for meetings (16 people maximum) and presentations (20) with Wi-Fi access, multimedia projector, laptop computer, whiteboard, Wi-Fi access and refreshments; • ‘Business Introduction’ service – via the BCCT office: email introducing your company is forwarded to key selected prospects within the BCCT membership; • ‘Business Referral’ service – via the BCCT office to Thai government contacts: the BCCT office will call the contact and ensure that he/she will address the enquiry; • ‘Touchdown’ service (if you do not have a Bangkok office) – at the BCCT office: on arrival in Bangkok – free Wi-Fi access, tea/coffee, mobile phone charging and a chat with the BCCT Executive Director (20 years of experience living and working in Thailand); • ‘Members Database’ – 24/7 on-line access to full contact details of fellow BCCT members for marketing purposes and to set up meetings. A further key benefit of membership is access to the BCCT Management Development Group’s programme of workshops and seminars in both English and Thai language. Key objectives of the Group have been to provide management development for member company employees, particularly from SME’s that benefit from participation in programmes that they can join rather than run directly themselves. The focus of the training programmes has been on soft skills development based on an established list of core competencies. While many members have found these programmes useful our biggest challenge is engaging with companies that are not yet benefitting. If you are a senior representative of a BCCT member company reading this message, please pass details of future workshops and seminars to your staff and support their participation. If you have suggestions for topics to be covered please let me know: With the success of the free entry boardroom briefing format in 2012 we are looking to expand the number of sectoral events for members. The BCCT office meeting room accommodates up to 25 members seated theatre style. To support more sectoral events we are looking to activate or re-activate some BCCT groups (or committees). If you would like to participate in a BCCT Group, please let me know. Before signing off I am pleased to report that, due to issuing invoices in November and December 2012, more than 270 members had paid their 2013 membership fee by the invoice due date. However, the BCCT office is still seeking payment of fees from more than 230 companies. If you received an email from BCCT Deputy Director Khun Jyoti early in February and have not yet sent payment for your 2013 BCCT membership then please do so as soon as possible. If you would like to discuss how to maximise the benefits of your membership I would be delighted to meet you. Please contact me: Before signing off I would like to thank those Board Directors who stood down or left the board: Matt Lobner of HSBC, Dean Thompson of Boots, Richard Greaves of the Grand Hyatt Erawan, Colin Hastings of Big Chilli, Jane Bailey (formerly of Equitech) and Toni Weber (formerly of TNT). I am also delighted to welcome new Board Directors Siew Meng Tan of HSBC, Ritu Mohan of Boots, Thana Thiramanus of PCS and Joe Barker-Bennett of Crestcom/JMBB Consulting. The Brief

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BOI sets pace for new investment B

OI Secretary General Udom Wongviwatchai has been reflecting upon a record year of investment promotion applications in Thailand. By 20 December 2012 the Board had received applications valued at more than THB1.1 trillion. Japanese companies accounted for about 60 percent of the applications.

The Secretary General indicated that the increase in the percentage of Japanese investment was due in part to ‘decisions made following the March 2011 tsunami and earthquake that hit Japan and the subsequent energy problems that prompted some companies to look abroad’. Writing in the latest issue of the BOI publication Thailand Investment Review, Mr Wongviwatchai added that ‘with many Japanese companies having already invested in Thailand and having in place a linkage with supply chains the country seemed a natural overseas location. Japanese are familiar with Thai culture, religion and customs and find integration easy to accomplish. Additionally, the Yen continues to be very strong and has been a factor for some companies moving their operations into Thailand’. The BOI expects to attract more SMEs from Japan in 2013. Indeed, the secretary general believes that foreign investors will continue to look positively at Thailand as the government continues to stimulate the domestic economy and channel additional funds into infrastructure spending such as flood prevention projects. The BOI continues to focus upon industries such as automotive, electronics/electrical appliances and


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alternative energy and the organisation’s sustainable development policies, set to expire at the end of 2012, have been extended by one year. The secretary general is aware that investors are awaiting eagerly the announcement of BOI’s new investment policy, expected to be finalised in the first half of 2013 for implementation later in the year. The BOI is convening public meetings to discuss the new policy when both investors and members of the general can raise issues directly with the Secretary General and his senior team. The BOI is placing more emphasis upon what it calls ‘high-tech’ and ‘high-value’ industries, such as alternative energy, medical equipment and logistics, as it seeks to achieve the government’s goal of ‘transitioning Thailand’s economy from labour intensive to knowledge-based’. “The new policy will focus on attracting those industries that support Thailand’s move to become a knowledge-based economy, where economic growth is determined by creativity and value-added manufacturing. By adapting to the new realities in the region and in the world economy, investors will continue to maintain their confidence in Thailand as the place to invest in Asia,” he says.

Mr. Udom Wongviwatchai Secretary General, Thailand Board of Investment

He adds that ‘with the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community rapidly approaching Thailand and the BOI are being encouraged to strengthen the competitiveness of Thai companies as overseas investors. When ASEAN becomes a single market, Thai companies must be in a position to compete outside of the country. For BOI, this means acting as a facilitator of overseas investment. That is why the BOI has recently established its Thailand Overseas Investment Office, which will act as a facilitator of Thai investment in neighbouring countries, within ASEAN and South Asia and other regions’. While BOI will not be offering fiscal incentives for Thai companies looking abroad it can help resolve such issues as double taxation and also help companies avoid obsta-

cles that may arise from being unfamiliar with specific markets.

Thailand, and this is something the BOI will continue to monitor.

The BOI can also provide companies with economic forecasting in foreign markets, and can bring investors to countries they would like to invest in to see firsthand what the environment is like and to meet with BOI counterparts in those countries. BOI can also arrange meetings with investors already in foreign markets, who can provide advice on start-up procedures and potential obstacles.

Mr Wongviwatchai is aware that of concerns over Thailand’s labour supply with some companies wishing to bring in foreign workers but stresses that the BOI is not in a position to act on this. However, the BOI will continue to promote labour intensive industries that also use high-technology.

While the secretary general maintains a fairly positive outlook for 2013, he is not unaware that any economic problems that may arise in the United States of the European Union may have an impact on investment coming into

“World business is in a period of transition and many factors have changed. The trend in the world economy is towards creative industries and environmentally friendly industries. Thailand must respond to the trend or lose,” he says. The BOI is set to open an office in India to facilitate investment

in and from that country and is now looking at Bangladesh – seen as offering potential for growth in investment and a large market for Thai products. Going green New BOI policies will incorporate the theme of the ‘BOI Fair Going Green for the Future’. Companies are encouraged to plant trees at their locations and some five million trees were planted last year at corporate bases across Thailand. Before joining the BOI, Mr Wongviwatchai spent several years in various positions at the Office of Industrial Economics and at the Thailand International Standards Institute.

World Bank: Thailand Economic Monitor The World Bank has released its latest Thailand Economic Monitor, noting that the economy has rebounded from the severe floods but that it continues to be affected by the slowdown in the global economy. The World Bank looks for 2012 GDP growth in Thailand at 4.7 percent, with inflation steady at 3 percent. Tourism receipts recovered quickly after the floods and growth continues at about 10 percent. The floods also did not affect flows of foreign direct investment, which continued to be strong. In part this is due to the diversification by Japanese and European investments. The report notes that private investment will likely continue growing at close to 10 percent. This is due to greater FDI entering the country, as reflected in BOI applications and approvals. With the relaxation of the Bank of Thailand’s rules for investing abroad, Thai direct investment has increased since the last quarter of 2010, with ASEAN as the main market. “In addition, the prospects from the ASEAN Economic Community 2015 prompt firms to increasingly invest abroad

in order to maintain their competitiveness.” Looking out over the coming year, the projection is for five percent growth in GDP and 5.5 percent growth in exports. The domestic demand which helped buoy the economy in 2012 is expected to maintain its momentum throughout this year, while at the same time the Thai Government will spend about THB60 billion in water resource management projects. The Government will spend about 2.4 percent of GDP on its major policy programmes in 2013. Recognising the decreased percentage of public investment the Thai government is formulating a seven year infrastructure investment programme in the amount of two trillion Baht - mostly for land transport infrastructure. Beginning in 2013 the minimum wage in all provinces of Thailand was increased to THB300 per day, representing a nationwide 22.4 percent increase over 2012. From 2001 to 2011, the annual average increase in the minimum wage was 2.5 percent. This has led to an increase in annual average wages, although with no increase in the unemployment rate. It

should be pointed out that the World Bank does note that the “minimum wage increase prior to 2012 were small and below inflation rates, which translated into a fall in real minimum wages over time.” In line with the goals of the Thai Government, the report states that developing higher skills is imperative for both higher incomes and living standards, and for the country to maintain sustainable growth. “With higher-skilled individuals in the labour force, Thailand would be able to engage in higher value-added production and remain competitive and grow inclusively.” Thailand Investment Review notes that the new BOI investment promotion policies that will be finalised and released later this year will work to support companies that enhance the skills of Thai workers and rely less on labour intensive manufacturing. Thailand is committed to emerge from the so-called middle-income trap and become an upper income country that is knowledge-based and with increasingly higher standards of living. It will remain an investor’s choice within the fast growing Asia region.

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Impact of revised BOI investment promotion strategy By Stephen Frost


he Board of Investment is the Thai government agency responsible for encouraging investment by Thai and foreign investors by a system of corporate tax holidays and other incentives such as import duty exemption on machinery and raw materials used in the business, double tax allowance for utility bills, permission for promoted majority foreign owned Thai companies to own land used in the promoted business and permission for a promoted business listed in Schedule 2 or 3 of the Foreign Business Act to be majority foreign owned.

The policy of promoting inbound investment is replaced by a policy to promote inbound and outbound investment.

In January 2013, the BOI published an Investment Strategy paper intended to apply for the years 201317, for public discussion and comment. In this article, we summarise the main aspects of the proposals.

1. Basic infrastructure and logistics: e.g. industrial zones, power generation form natural gas, tap water or water resources for industrial services, transport and mass transit, commercial airports and logistics centres. 2. Basic industry: e.g. steel, petrochemicals, pulp and paper, machinery. 3. Medical devises and scientific equipment: e.g. medical devises, medicine, medical food, scientific equipment. 4. Alternative energy and environmental services: e.g. power generation from renewable energy, recycling, wastewater treatment and industrial estates disposal services, energy services company. 5. Services supporting the industrial sector: e.g. R&D, HRD, engineering design, software, calibration services, ROH, Trade and Investment Support Office. 6. Advance core technologies: e.g. biotechnology, nanotechnology, advanced material technology.

Strategic approach: The strategic approach of the paper is described in this way. The previous broad based-investment promotion policy is to be replaced by a policy for focused and prioritised promotion. This means that a large number of activities that were eligible for promotion in the past will cease to be eligible. The incentives available will also be revised (for example 8, 5 or 3 year corporate tax holidays may be available), depending on the assessed priority – in some case subject to a tax cap – or possibly only customs duty exemption on imported machinery or rare materials. Sector based incentives are to be replaced by sector and merit based


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incentives. Tax incentives are also revised (note: Thai corporate tax is now only 20%, so CIT exemption has less importance than in the past). There is emphasis in encouraging R&D and environmental protection. The previous zoning policy, whereby Thailand was divided into three zones for investment purposes, is abolished and replaced by a policy to promote regional clusters. Eight clusters are defined: food processing; halal food processing; rubber, fashion; entertainment, aerospace, science and technology; and the three southernmost provinces. The emphasis on tax incentives is to be replaced by a policy of tax incentives and facilitation of projects. There is keenness to encourage the One Stop One Service (OSOS), improve investment rules, promote human resources, and integrate support from other government agencies.

The current emphasis on evaluation of applications will be replaced by evaluation by outcome. Development of this strategic approach: The strategy paper goes on to explain in detail an emphasis on 10 key areas of business activity:

7. Food and agricultural processing industry: e.g. processed food, food additives, herbal extracts, plant propagation and development, products from natural rubber, biofuels. 8. Hospitality and wellness: e.g. tourism and sports promotion, Thai motion pictures promotion, health centres, retirement homes, care centres. 9. Automotive and transport equipment: e.g. cars, motorcycles, trains, electric trains, aircraft, shipbuilding and maintenance. 10. Electric and electrical appliances: e.g. electronic design, organics and printed electronics, HDD and SSD and parts, solar cells, white goods.

BOI support and facilitation: The BOI will seek to play a role of support and facilitation, to encourage reform of laws and to create a positive investment image. It will encourage the creation of regional or border clusters, emphasise human resource development and encourage outbound investment.

Summary of the changes: In summary, based on the strategy paper’s provisional proposals:

Comments: How will current and prospective investors react to these changes in BOI strategy? These proposals reflect strategic governmental priorities to encourage new hightech industry and environmentallyfriendly activities to enter Thailand, and a turning away from low-tech manufacturing which often caused environmental damage in the past. The business activities that will now become ineligible for BOI privileges are lengthy and wide-ranging. Will investment in categories of business still eligible for promotion, increase to surpass activities that will now become ineligible?

• Approximately 100 activities will be granted corporate tax exemption, of which 30 may receive the maximum eight year CIT exemption • Approximately 30 activities will be granted exemption from import duty on imported machinery and raw materials, and non-tax incentives • Approximately 80 activities will cease to be eligible for promotion The new list of eligible and ineligible activities can be summarised by industrial sector as follows: 1. Agricultural and agro-industry: 10 eligible activities: 12 deleted activities. 2. Mining, ceramics and basic metals: 16 eligible activities: 9 deleted activities. 3. Light industry: 10 eligible activities: 20 deleted activities. 4. Metal products: 19 eligible activities: 12 deleted activities. 5. Electronics industry and electrical appliances: 26 eligible activities: 1 deleted activity. 6. Chemicals, paper and plastics: 11 eligible activities: 11 deleted activities. 7. Services and public activities: 29 eligible activities: 16 deleted activities.

Outbound investment: The paper expresses a desire for the BOI to encourage outbound investment. This will prioritise the sourcing of materials that Thailand lacks, expansion of markets and expanding the attractiveness of Thai products in the global market. A target list of countries is included.

The proposals will affect new businesses that may be considering entry into Thailand and also existing businesses that might be considering applying for BOI privileges to manufacture other product lines. Investors will also have to take into account other recent developments: the reduction of corporate tax to 20 percent, the 300 Baht national daily minimum wage and the reduction in social security contributions from five percent to four percent for 2013. Regarding privileges for outbound investment, these are not fully worked out. It is not absolutely clear what categories of business activity will be eligible, and whether only Thai-majority owned businesses be allowed to apply, or any Thai registered company. What privileges will

be offered, e.g. tax exemption when dividends are repatriated to Thailand, or other benefits? For what period of time will the privileges apply? This area is lacking in detail in the strategy paper. For many years commentators have stressed the importance of investment in activities that are beneficial for Thailand’s long term development such as education and vocational training, English and other language skills. It is disappointing that these feature only to a small extent in the strategy paper. Investors who are considering setting up operations and applying for BOI privileges for activities that may be ineligible for promotion, may think it prudent to apply now, before the regulations are changed. They should also ensure that the scope of privileges offered is suitable for them before acceptance. These proposals are being circulated for public discussion and debate. The provisional revised list of eligible and ineligible activities may be revised. In March 2013 the BOI hope to prepare a final list of proposals which will then be implemented. The provisional revised list of eligible activities and deleted activities may be found under the Reports section of the BCCT website at © 2013 Stephen Frost, Bangkok International Associates

Bangkok International Associates is a general corporate and commercial law firm. For further information on our services, please email Stephen Frost at sfrost@bia. or phone (66) 2 231 6201/ 6455.

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Uncertain outlook for global economy T

he global economic outlook remains highly uncertain. The eurozone sovereign debt crisis is perhaps the key challenge, and not just for business leaders in Europe. The European Union (EU) is China’s largest trading partner, and China is the EU’s second largest trade partner after the United States. China remains the world’s largest exporter, but the slowdown in Europe has weighed on economic growth. These are the views expressed in the latest Grant Thornton International Business Report. Growth rates in and around Europe look set to disappoint over the next 12 months. Having contracted by 0.4 percent in 2012, the eurozone is expected to expand by just 0.2 percent in 2013. Despite being outside of the single currency, the United Kingdom is expected to post growth of just 1.1 percent in 2013, following a forecast contraction of 0.4 percent in 2012. The emerging economies of central and eastern Europe are expected to grow faster in 2013 (2.6%) but their rates of expansion remain depressed by a slowdown in foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows. Economic growth in the United States remains weak and unemployment high. Democrats and Republicans eventually reached a deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, but this focused only on the tax side of the equation. Tough negotiations on spending cuts and raising the debt ceiling have been deferred, meaning more uncertainty for businesses in early 2013. The economy is expected to expand by just 2.1 percent in 2013, marginally ahead of Canada (2.0%). Having fallen back into recession in


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Prime Minister David Cameron is the current Chairman of the G8.

the last six months of 2012, Japan’s economy is expected to expand by just 1.2 percent in 2013. Growth rates in emerging economies look very healthy by comparison. China’s growth rate is expected to pick up to 8.2 percent in 2013, from 7.8 percent in 2012, even as the new leadership tries to move economic drivers away from exports and investment towards consumption. Growth in India slipped to a nine-year low in 2012 as persistent high inflation cut into consumer spending power and political gridlock hampered meaningful economic reforms. However there are signs of change, with the lower house of Parliament recently voting to allow FDI in the retail sector and growth is expected to quicken to six percent in 2013. With unrest in the Middle East persisting, growth of 3.8 percent in Russia in 2013 will be underpinned by high oil and gas prices. Growth prospects in Latin America are also

strong. The Brazilian economy has endured a difficult past 24 months of little growth, but is forecast to expand by four percent in 2013. Mexico, which bounced back strongly from the recession north of its border is expected to grow by 3.5 percent in 2013, following expansion of 3.8 percent in 2012, although the ambitious reform agenda set out by the new administration could see growth push up towards five percent by 2020. The region as a whole is forecast to grow at 3.9 percent. Forecast growth expansion rates in Southeast Asia (5.8%) and subSaharan Africa (5.7%) for 2013 are even more impressive, and underline the continuing development of emerging economies. Business optimism for the year ahead has fluctuated with the strength of the recovery. At the back end of 2011, global confidence was at its lowest point since the global crisis began in 2009, and only remained neutral (net 0%) due to the strong optimism of Latin American busi-

nesses (net 61%). Mature economies started to show signs of improvement in the first half of 2012 as the European Central Bank (ECB) made some positive statements about the level of support it would provide for the euro. Global optimism rose to net 19 percent in Q1-2012 and again to net 23% in Q2.

their economies over the next 12 months, they too have been impacted by the slowdown in the global economy. The optimism of businesses in the BRIC economies climbed to net 41percent in Q1 and Q2 but then dropped back to net 29 percent in Q3. However, optimism bounced back to 39 percent in Q4.

However optimism fell to just net eight percent in Q3 as hopes for a swift end to the eurozone crisis faded and commentators started to speculate about the impact of the United States falling off the ‘fiscal cliff ’. In Q4, optimism dipped even lower to just net four percent.

Business growth

Business optimism amongst G7 businesses turned negative in Q3 (net - 4%), indicating that more business leaders were pessimistic than were optimistic about the next 12 months. This trend continued in Q4 with net -16 percent optimistic for the year ahead, below the level seen 12 months previously. Although businesses in emerging economies have remained more confident about the prospects for

In a foreword to the Report, Ed Nusbaum, CEO of Grant Thornton International, writes, “We have seen significant political change over the course of 2012, with presidential elections taking place in some of the largest economies in the world such as China, Egypt, France, Mexico, Russia and the United States. A recent agreement on a series of tax rises in the U.S. pulled the economy back from the brink of the ‘fiscal cliff’, but tough negotiations on the debt ceiling and spending cuts remain. Deliberations also continue in the Eurozone with the sovereign debt crisis still far from resolved. The recent round of elections in Japan needs to help recovery from the devastating tsunami and earthquake in 2011; however the economy has slipped back into recession. Emerging economies are growing faster, but challenges remain. In

Business leaders’ expectations for the performance of their own operations have fluctuated along with wider economic expectations, indicating how global economic uncertainty is damaging growth prospects. From Q2-2012 to Q3, global business expectations for revenue, profit and export growth all slid by 5 percentage points. Indeed business leaders showed less confidence in their business growth prospects across 2012, compared with 2011. Global expectations for increasing revenue and profitability over the next 12 months are both still positive, but remain below levels seen before the global financial crisis of 2008/9.

China, the new leadership is focusing on avoiding the middle income trap which will mean sacrificing faster for more sustainable growth. Reforms to open up the Indian economy to foreign direct investment have met with stiff resistance and high inflation persists. Signs of reform in Russia are tepid and the government budget remains highly reliant on the price of oil and gas. Brazil has barely grown over the past 24 months, although interest and unemployment rates have dropped to record lows. The new administration in Mexico has targeted higher growth and greater security. Closer to home, maritime disputes are threatening to upset relations in Southeast Asia, whilst the legacy of the Arab Spring is still reverberating across the Middle East and North Africa. With uncertainty prevailing, reason might well tell business leaders to build cash levels and wait for a sustained recovery before investing. However we also encourage our clients to listen to their instinct:

The proportion of business leaders expecting to increase revenues over the next 12 months is down in more than half of the economies we survey compared with 2011. The most notable decline in revenue confidence is observed in Hong Kong (down 35 percentage points), followed by Switzerland (down 30), the Philippines, Italy (both down 21), France and Spain (both down 20). The most optimistic business communities in terms of growing revenues are Vietnam (net 92%), India (net 82%), mainland China and Georgia (both at net 78%). Expectations are far less buoyant in Europe. Its economies occupy the bottom eight places of our 44 economies surveyed, although only businesses in Greece are expecting to see revenues decline (net -3%) with those in Spain expecting revenues to be flat.

Readers may access the full report at: or www.internationalbusinessreport. com

with interest rates low and talent plentiful in mature economies, this is the perfect time to invest in both their people and their operations. Investing now could help them to get ahead of the competition when the global economy is on a surer footing. Meanwhile, business leaders in emerging economies should consider their international expansion strategy – picking up distressed assets at low cost in mature economies could offer technology and skills transfers, allowing them to move onto a higher growth plain by offering higher valueadd products and services. Conditions are tough, but by applying both reason and instinct to their decision making, dynamic businesses can navigate through these strong economic headwinds in 2013. The growth prospects of those that do, look very healthy indeed.

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Asia Pacific trade challenged by weak demand and barriers A

sia-Pacific’s exports and imports growth are threatened by continued weakening of demand with limited progress in reducing costs and barriers to trade for low income, landlocked and least developed countries, according to the Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2012. Amid the rising uncertainties within and outside the region, exports and imports growth will slow down. Export growth in real terms in developing Asia-Pacific region is expected to drop from 6.5 percent in 2011 to two percent in 2012, while the growth of imports will contract from nine percent to three percent during the same period. Export opportunities will continue to depend largely on the growth of intraregional demand and the ability of developing countries in the region to deal with various external shocks. Pressure in the euro zone and the rising threat from a slowdown in the emerging economies has raised the fear of a re-emergence of trade and investment contraction. How economies in the region will react to this continued weakening of external demand for their export will determine the speed and quality of growth in the region. The Report provides useful analysis to assist Governments in sorting through available options. In 2011, the Asia-Pacific region remained to be the largest source of its merchandise imports: almost 14 per16

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cent of imports by the region’s economies was sourced from China, 27 percent from developing Asia-Pacific economies and 13 percent from developed Asia-Pacific economies. European Union and the United States

jointly supplied less than one fourth of imports while the final one fourth of imports came from the rest of world. The Asia-Pacific region provided over one fourth of global commer-

cial services exports. The region’s share was the largest in exports of transportation services, almost 29 percent. It captured close to 28 percent of export of travel services and one fourth of exports of other commercial services. Among these, AsiaPacific exported over half of global construction services. Of the world’s ten largest exporters of travel services in 2011, eight were in the AsiaPacific region. The region as a whole, including developed economies, attracted 33 percent of global FDI inflows in 2011, a considerable increase from its 18 percent share in 2005. China was the largest recipient of global FDI flows capturing 25 percent of inflows to the Asia-Pacific region. Developing economies of Asia and the Pacific are emerging as key sources of FDI in the region. The role of least developed countries remains marginal with less than one percent of inflows going to these countries. Promoting investment flows in order to facilitate the entry of local companies into global and regional value chains is one of the key factors in achieving development goals for least developed countries. The average time required to complete trade procedures in the region still stands at three times the OECD

average. The cost of conducting intraregional trade in goods in Asia and the Pacific remains particularly high, with intraregional trade costs among Central Asian countries up to five times higher than those prevailing among European Union countries. Tariffs have accounted for 14 percent of total protectionist measures implemented since 2010 in the Asia-Pacific region. Measured by number of discriminatory measures per US$1 million worth of exports, the exports of a group of Asia-Pacific least developed countries were targeted 7.5 times more heavily than Asian BRICS countries. Amid tepid trade growth, AsiaPacific countries continued to expand network of preferential trade agreements (PTAs) and are now implementing almost 150 PTAs of different type and scope. Frequently partners come from outside the region and there are only 19 agreements between countries sharing the continental borders. The Report highlights the need to consolidate content of liberalisation and regulation under these multiple agreements in order to promote region-wide trade and investment integration. Two competing initiatives, the two rising giants: Regional Comprehensive Economic Partner-

ship and Trans-Pacific Partnership explored as possible efforts to deal with the noodle-bowl phenomenon. The Report also zooms-in and explores several topical issues, among others: trading waste, problems with economic diversification in South Asia, growth of royalties and license fees payments by the Asia-Pacific region, inclusion of IPR clauses and clauses on mobility of labour in preferential trade agreements, and Thai companies’ difficulties to utilise PTA-negotiated preferences.

The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2012: Recent Trends and Developments is published by UNESCAP. Supplementary material such as country trade and investment fact sheets, tables with key indicators and up-to-date statistics (on export and import growth, intraregional trade shares, growth of FDI inflows and outflows, indicators of progress in trade facilitation, tariffs and trade covered by partners in preferential trade agreements) and ready to use presentation on the findings in the report are available from ti_report2012/home.asp

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Skills shortage threat to business growth B

usinesses around the world are reporting a skills shortage epidemic that is weighing on growth prospects, according to new research from the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR).

The impact of these workforce issues on business growth prospects is evident: the IBR reveals that more than one in four businesses (28%) expects their 2013 expansion plans to suffer as a result of skills shortages, rising to more than one in three in the BRIC economies (36%). This has dropped from 35 percent globally pre-financial crisis when employment levels were much higher – particularly in mature economies.

Almost four in ten (39%) businesses around the world are struggling to recruit the right people with a lack of technical skills cited as the primary problem (64%). The concern is that a lack of talent will dampen business productivity, ultimately threatening future growth and profitability. Tom Sorensen, partner and head of Grant Thornton’s Executive Recruitment division in Thailand, said, “With unemployment running so high in many mature economies it is somewhat ironic that business leaders are concerned by a lack of skills. In the short-term they will need to plug these skills gaps with people from outside the organisation as best they can. But in the longerterm they need to invest in their internal training programmes to mould the people that will help them deliver on strategy, innovate and ultimately grow.” Tom Sorensen added: “Even the United Nations had predicted, in a report a few years ago, a serious contraction of the labour force around the world. Both China and Singapore are now and for the next few years seeing more people leave the labour force than entering. Thailand will reach this status around 2020-2025. A business is nothing without its people. A great team with an av18

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Tom Sorensen said, “We have seen some evidence of improved dialogue between educational institutions, governments and business leaders but this research should give fresh impetus to their discussions.

Tom Sorensen

erage plan will be far more successful than an average team with a great plan. The best people increase productivity, save an organisation time and money and ultimately grow the business. So, in the long-term, business leaders need to be confident that their own training programmes will be able to deliver talent sustainably.” The reported shortage of technical skills is as much an issue in developed as emerging economies. It is cited by 61 percent of the BRIC businesses and 65 percent of their peers in the G7. A lack of both work experience (56%) and qualifications (54%) are also mentioned. One in five business leaders (21%) cite restrictions on immigration.

There is clearly a disconnect when, on the one hand, business leaders are crying out for more skilled labour and, on the other, swathes of unemployed people are crying out for a job.” “The situation amounts to a huge waste of human capital, which is good for neither businesses nor the unemployed. Ultimately economic growth suffers: businesses are constrained from expanding and people without work don’t have sufficient income to create demand for products and services – it’s a vicious cycle. Efforts to boost skills should be high on the public policy agenda.”

For further information contact Grant Thornton by email: or telephone (66) 2 205 8222 Website:

New rules introduced on nominees in Thailand By Stephen Frost


he Foreign Business Act (1999) contains provisions designed to deter foreign investors from using nominees to circumvent the foreign ownership limitations under the Act. The Land Act (1954) and regulations issued by the Ministry of the Interior contain similar provisions designed to prevent foreign purchasers of land from avoiding the limitations on foreign ownership of land. In 2012, the Central Partnerships and Companies Registration Office issued regulation 205/2555, which enables the authorities to scrutinise a wider range of companies than hitherto for the presence of nominees. In this article, we consider the scope of the new regulation. Coming into effect: The regulation applies to all applications for registration of companies and partnerships submitted after 2nd January 2013. Powers conferred: Promoters registering a company or partners registering a partnership must now submit bank statements or other evidence to show the financial status of any Thai shareholders or partners, in an amount that corresponds to their investment in the company or partnership.

Which companies or partnerships are caught? The regulation will apply to: a. Partnership or company where Thai shareholders hold less than 50 percent of the shares; or b. A 100 percent Thai-owned company that has a foreign signatory director who can either solely or jointly sign documents to bind the company. Comparison with previous regulations: The table below compares the previous regulations regarding the obligation to supply evidence of Thai shareholders’ financial standing, with the new ones: It can therefore be seen that the scope of the existing regulation has been widened to capture companies and partnerships that: (a) have Thai minority ownership or (b) are 100 percent Thaiowned, but have a foreigner as sole or joint authorised director or partner. Conclusion: It is common knowledge that Thai nominees are used to circumvent the foreign ownership rules of the Foreign Business Act or the Land Act. Whilst this regulation widens the number of businesses that may be subject to official scrutiny, one suspects that the use of nominees will continue. The reason for this is firstly, that the authorities fear the negative

Companies and partnerships subject to the previous regulation

Companies and partnerships subject to the new regulation

A partnership or company where the Thai shareholders/partners hold at least 40 percent but less than 50 percent of the shares/the partnership

A partnership or company where the Thai shareholders/partners hold less than 50 percent of the shares/the partnership

A partnership or company where the Thai shareholders/partners hold less than 40 percent of the shares/the partnership but a foreigner is an authorised director/partner

A 100 percent Thai-owned company with a foreigner as sole or joint authorised director/partner

impact on foreign investment of taking action where the presence of nominees is detected, and are therefore reluctant to invoke their powers. The second reason is that no changes to the FBA or the Land Act have been made since their inception to confer even the slightest measure of liberalisation. All service businesses are still regulated under the FBA, or industry specific legislation and majority foreign ownership of service businesses is only possible in a small number of business categories where substantial capital investment is made, or where there is specific exemption. Although the Land Act contains provisions whereby foreigners may own up to one rai of land (roughly 400 square metres) for residential purposes, and up to 10 rai for commercial purposes, the enabling regulations to put these principles into practice have never been issued. At a time when Thailand has many foreign managed service businesses employing thousands of Thais, and generating enormous tax income for the government, and ASEAN or GATS membership means that in the long run Thai investment rules must be liberalised, surely it is time to reconsider the scope of current business ownership restrictions with a view to encouraging foreign investment? And regarding land ownership, taking into account the thousands of foreigners who now live permanently in Thailand as employees or retirees, is it possible to allow one rai of land to be owned as a home? Bangkok International Associates is a general corporate and commercial law firm. For further information, please contact Stephen Frost by email at or telephone (66) 2 231 6201/6455.

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BCCT briefs Thailand’s immigration chief


CCT Chairman Simon Landy has led a delegation to discuss a number of pressing issues facing the British business community with Thailand’s Immigration Commissioner, Police Lt Gen Pharnu Kerdlarpphon.

The following matters were raised: 1. Short-term business visa: BCCT proposed creating a business visa (ideally on arrival) that does not require a temporary work permit for visits of 30 days or less. Immigration commented that there is a box to tick on the arrival card for visitors to conferences etc and these people do not need a visa. BCCT pointed out that the Labour Ministry requires such visitors to have a work permit and this in turn requires a visa. It was noted that it is now harder to secure temporary work permits.


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Corporate compliance requires that many companies go through the long and bureaucratic process of securing a non-Immigrant B visa supported by a temporary work permit to, for example, attend a board meeting in Thailand. The Commissioner understood that Thailand was therefore losing out on corporate and conference business visitors to easier to access places such as Singapore. Simon Landy agreed to write to Minister of Labour requesting that business men and women visiting the Kingdom for 30 days or less should

not require a work permit. The Immigration Bureau undertook to follow up with Ministry of Labour at operational level. BCCT Executive Director Greg Watkins is seeking further details about the rules and regulations in neighbouring countries through contacts within BiSEA chambers and the British Chamber in Hong Kong. 2. Two-year business visa: This would be consistent with two-year work permit. Immigration accepted that this is a valid point. Currently BOI promoted companies or those with an investment of THB 30 million can secure longer term visas. BCCT to request from central government a waiver of the THB 30 million requirement in order to secure a two-year visa. Immigration suggest-

ed that getting support from the Thai Chamber of Commerce beforehand would be a good idea. BCCT Legal & Tax Group to consider if that is the best solution. 3. 90-day reporting: This requirement will not be abolished for security reasons but there is an on-line reporting mechanism. BCCT Legal & Tax Group to assess the user-friendliness of the on-line reporting mechanism and to suggest improvements if appropriate. After testing, BCCT to publicise the availability of online reporting to members with advice on how to use it effectively. 4. Fast-Track entry at Suvarnabhumi: Currently, Immigration gives fast-track access to airlines for First and Business Class passengers. Immigration does not want to give this privilege to foreign chambers because the numbers would be too large to estimate accurately. However, Immigration is under pressure from the Government to automate processes as much as possible and is open to suggestions on this.

passport reading machines and the Chamber is investigating this. Immigration may also be looking at a variant of the Hong Kong model of a dedicated queue for frequent travellers. BCCT is checking with BiSEA and Hong Kong chamber colleagues on fast track or automated options used in other countries in the region for frequent business travellers.

This could present an opportunity for a British manufacturer of

5. Permanent Residence/Nationality: Immigration noted that the

problem was not at the Immigration Bureau. 6. Presentation to BCCT members: Immigration would be happy to make such a presentation. They have given similar presentations to other foreign groups and have the capability to present in English. * Members are invited to contact the Chamber for further details on matters arising and progress made in the wake of this important meeting with the Immigration Commissioner.

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Milestone for UK-Thai trade By Bradley Jones


n many ways, 2012 was a milestone in terms of UK-Thai trade relations. We had a record-breaking number of UK Ministerial and VIP visitors to Thailand during the course of the year, and the UK hosted PM Yingluck in November, in a high profile visit on which she was accompanied by five Ministers and over 60 Thai business leaders. Her visit had a significant impact in terms of re-establishing Thailand as an attractive investment destination for UK companies, and, in her meeting with PM David Cameron it was agreed that the UK and Thailand would engage in a ‘Strategic Dialogue’ through which we would seek to enhance the bilateral relationship across all spheres (political, cultural and commercial). On the latter point, UK-Thailand trade is experiencing something of a boom at the moment. The latest figures show that UK goods exports to Thailand have increased year-on-year by 39 percent and we expect overall bilateral trade between the two countries to top £5 bn. Many of the big British investors here have expanded significantly over the last year through acquisition or by achieving organic growth. The big story for 2013 will be the EU-Thailand Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Hopefully, by the time you are reading this article, the Thai Parliament will have voted in favour of starting negotiations and


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David Cameron greets Thailand PM Yingluck Shinawatra on the steps of 10 Downing Street.

PM Yingluck will be on her way to Brussels to formally launch the discussions.

rope and this will translate to more choice, better quality and price savings for consumers.

Free Trade Agreements used to be mostly about reducing tariffs but these days they often tackle nontariff barriers to trade as well – issues such as intellectual property, government procurement, investment laws, and, in the case of the FTA that Singapore has just concluded with the EU, sustainable growth.

The EU will eliminate tariffs on all imports from Singapore over a period of five years. Singapore will also grant immediate duty free access for all imports from the EU.

The EU-Singapore FTA gives us a good indication of the potential wins that Thailand could gain from a similar deal. Singaporean companies will be able enjoy lower costs on imports such as telecom products, food and wines from Eu-

Singaporean exporters of electronics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and processed food products, in particular, will benefit from the removal of the EU’s tariffs. Barriers to trade in banking and insurance will be reduced, and EU companies will find it easier to bid for public tenders. Thailand has much to gain from an FTA. It will enhance the inflow of

skills, knowledge and investment required to make Thailand a leading player in the ASEAN Economic Community. Thailand will also be able to export more to EU markets. The UK will encourage its EU partners and Thailand to negotiate an ambitious FTA, one which covers all sectors, so that all parties can get the maximum benefit from removing the barriers to trade that currently exist between the two markets. But the clock is ticking for Thailand. FTAs can take several years to negotiate, ratify and implement. With GSP benefits (which provide beneficial access to EU markets for Thai based exporters) being phased out from next year, and with increasingly tough competition from feisty new emerging markets such as Indonesia and the Philippines, Thailand has no time to lose in commencing negotiations. To date, the EU has concluded FTA negotiations with Chile, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. The EU-Korea FTA is estimated to be worth around £0.5 billion to the UK economy, reducing tariffs to zero on 98 percent of trade between the EU and Korea and eliminating €1.6 billion duties annually

for EU exporters – the most ambitious achieved in a FTA. Our other priorities for 2013 are to provide more support to UK companies seeking to bid for contracts in some of Thailand’s ambitious future mega-projects, (including the flood prevention and water management projects, expansion of the MRT and BTS line, high speed rail and airport and port development) and to work more closely with the British Chamber in delivering business support services to British companies, particularly SMEs, seeking to do business here. On the latter point, we hope to be able to set out our thoughts on this in more detail when the BCCT hosts the BISEA Conference in Bangkok in March. We will also aim to develop new ways of supporting British companies using Thailand as a springboard into neighbouring ASEAN markets and, in order to meet the growing demand, we have expanded the commercial teams in our embassies in Phnom Penh and Rangoon and now have an Embassy up and running in Vientiane. With the AEC slowly approaching, we are encouraging UK companies to ‘think ASEAN’ rather than just

devote their energies to individual markets in the region. With this in mind the UK ASEAN Business Council was launched in the UK last year to help raise awareness of the ASEAN region. All the economic indicators seem to suggest that Thailand’s economy will continue to show impressive growth in 2013. We are also expecting to see a continuation of the high volume of enquiries from British companies seeking to do business here. So I expect that the year ahead will be as busy and as eventful, for both the Embassy and the Chamber, as 2012.

Bradley Jones is Director – UK Trade & Investment in Thailand, based at the British Embassy, 14 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330. Tel: 02 305 8256 Fax: 02 255 8619 Email:

Dr. Virachai Techavijit, Honorary Consul-General of Estonia in Thailand attended the World Federation of Consuls Congress in Monte Carlo where Prince Albert II of Monaco ( front row centre) presided over the opening ceremony. The Congress, held every three years, was attended by over 300 consuls from 53 countries - including four consuls from Thailand: Dr. Virachai, Dr. Sribhume Sukhanetr (Monaco), Dr. Chingchai Harnjenlak (Jamaica) and Dr. Daniel Delevaux (Madagascar).

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Baroness Warsi heads UK campaign on human rights


oreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi marked International Human Rights Day by hosting the London launch of the United Kingdom’s campaign for election to the United Nations Human Rights Council. She said, “We believe in a Human Rights Council that can make its voice heard, even when the issues are unpopular or difficult to hear.” The UK is standing for election to the UN’s Human Rights Council to ensure that the nation is at the forefront of efforts to drive forward the human rights agenda. Calling to account countries that commit the most serious and widespread violations against their own citizens, ensuring the Human Rights Council is at the forefront of the international response to international crises and fighting hard against those who seek to weaken or undermine international human rights mechanisms. The UK’s campaign will focus on four key human rights priorities: protecting those most vulnerable in societies, working towards human dignity for all, responding proactively to evolving challenges, and keeping human rights at the heart of multilateral priorities. Baroness Warsi added, “International Human Rights Day is a stark reminder that there are still too many around the world who are not able to enjoy fundamental freedoms. It is important to focus on those who are fighting for their rights and the rights of their loved ones, those who are prepared to put themselves in danger for a better future for others and to remember those who have left a legacy to inspire us all. We must keep those voices at the heart of our efforts 24

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Baroness Warsi is spearheading the UK’s campaign on Human Rights.

to promote and protect human rights around the world. “I am proud of the UK’s commitment to protecting those most vulnerable in our societies. Across the world, too many people are discriminated against on the basis of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or gender-identity. The reasons for discrimination are many, and we must tackle the causes and the acts themselves. “We believe in a Human Rights Council that can make its voice heard, even when the issues are unpopular or difficult to hear and a Council that is not bogged down by politics but where the rights of the individual are paramount. A body where states are held accountable for their actions against their citizens, where peers review peers.

“I believe strongly that we have an important role to play, which is why the UK is standing for election. We bring experience, commitment and ambition. We want to play a part in strengthening the Council as we have since its inception in 2006. In that time the Human Rights Council has grown in status and effectiveness. “Through the Council, we have called to account countries who commit the most heinous and systematic violations against their citizens. We have actively supported the Human Rights Council’s international response to the crisis in Syria. We have also run thematic initiatives including through a resolution which used the Olympics to promote awareness on human rights through sport and established a commitment with the future hosts of the Games to do the same.”

Ambassador puts stamp on new UK visa centre


ritish Ambassador to Thailand Mark Kent has officially opened the new UK visa application centre in Bangkok. The centre, operated by VFS Global - the UK Border Agency’s commercial partner, is designed to provide ‘more spacious and comfortable facilities’ and help to cater for the increased demand for visas to the United Kingdom. In the past two years there has been a 22 percent increase in the number of applications for UK visas by Thai nationals. An Embassy statement reported that ‘these visitors make an important economic and cultural contribution to the UK and the new application centre is part of the UK Border Agency’s ongoing commitment to provide the best possible visa service for customers. A number of enhanced services have already been introduced this year including an optional priority visa service for certain categories, which aims to process applications within three working days, and a Prime Time appointment service’. The priority service now includes Tier 4 students.

British Ambassador Mark Kent (fifth from left) joins staff at the opening of the new UK visa application centre in Bangkok.

The statement added that ‘overall processing times of visa applications are also well within time targets with 70 percent of non-settlement applicants having their visa processed within five working days and 100 percent within the 15 day target. British Ambassador Mark Kent said, “We are delighted that more Thais are choosing to holiday and

do business in the UK. We recognise that the visa application process is the start of their journey to the UK and that first impressions are important. I am very pleased to open this new visa application centre in Bangkok as further demonstration of our commitment to excellent customer service and to support continued growth in visitors to the UK from Thailand.”

Embassy backs Ministry in fight against tourism scams


he British Embassy is backing Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism in its bid to eradicate tourist scams. The Ministry’s recent television campaign was designed to encourage Thais to be good hosts to foreign tourists – although it’s not clear whether

the campaign was watched by jet ski operators in Phuket. Mr Kent said, “This cooperation with the Ministry is a concrete example of the Embassy’s continuous effort to tackle the problems some Brits encounter when in Thailand. Each year more than 850,000 Brit-

ish nationals visit Thailand. “We would like to make sure that they travel safely, receive a warm welcome and have a good time here. The Consular team at the Embassy is here to help and we also work with the Thai government to make this happen.”

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Opportunities continue for Myanmar investment By Chris Osborne


pportunities for investment in Myanmar have been continuing to generate hype over recent months and with Myanmar’s long awaited Foreign Investment Law (“New Investment Law”) having officially come into force on 2 November 2012, we anticipate that more investors will now be considering their options more seriously. However, the new law still does not clearly specify business activities in which foreign participation is permitted and, as Myanmar is a frontier economy in which the implementing rules and notifications under the new law have yet to be put in place, investors should make every effort to obtain protection under one of the bilateral investment protection treaties which Myanmar has entered into with other countries.

There are five important features of the New Investment Law. 1. Applications for investment approval: no clear process (yet) Applications for foreign investment were previously coordinated through the Directorate of Investment & Company Administration (“DICA”). The DICA website acknowledges the enactment of the New Investment Law, however the application forms and permitted investment activities on the DICA website relate to superseded investment laws. As the New Investment Law is expressed to apply to activities prescribed by notifications of the Investment Commission with prior government approval, these activities need to be prescribed in order for the New Investment Law to come fully into effect.


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The New Investment Law does not specify any timeframe in which notifications must be issued by the Commission, and it is unlikely that a viable application process can be put in place until notifications are issued which identify activities open to foreign investment. The Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development is required, with the approval of the government, to issue rules, orders and notifications as may be necessary within 90 days of the adoption of the New Investment Law. However, it is not clear whether this amounts to a guarantee that a workable framework will be in place from February 2013 onwards. The law also identifies 11 restricted/ prohibited activities and it is likely that foreign investment in these activities, if permitted at all, will be limited to 50 percent. Care will need to be taken when preparing investment applications

to ensure that the description of the planned activity makes it clear that no restricted activities are to be conducted. The restricted activities include: • Activities prejudicial to public health, natural resources, environment & biodiversity • Manufacturing involving the production or use of hazardous chemicals • Agriculture, livestock breeding, fishery • Activities with ten miles of a border with an adjoining country (excluding designated economic zones) 2. Land use – 50 year leases Foreign ownership of land appears unlikely in the foreseeable future, although the New Investment Law increases security of tenure by extending available lease terms to 50 years, with two possible extension periods of ten years each.

The lease term will be limited to the term actually required for the business, so the expected lifespan of the business should be expressed clearly in any investment application. Lease extension periods are expected to be linked to the size of the investment and the type of business and it is not clear whether the extension will be an absolute right exercisable by the investor, or whether the extension will be at the discretion of the State authorities. A lease can theoretically be granted for a term longer than 50 years for projects in less developed areas with poor infrastructure and access to communications. This is likely to be attractive to the property development sector. However, as the grant of a longer term lease is subject to government consent, it remains to be seen whether leases of more than 50 years become reality. 3. Tax incentives The New Investment Act identifies 11 categories of tax incentives available to foreign investment. These include: • An exemption on income tax for five years from the first year of production. This period can be extended for successful enterprises if doing so would be beneficial to the State • Accelerated depreciation for capital assets (the depreciation rates have yet to be fixed by the Investment Commission) • Exemptions from import duty on machinery and equipment used in the enterprise and on raw materials imported in the first three years of production • An unlimited period of exemption from income tax for profits from revenue reinvested within one year of its distribution and also on 50% of the profits of exports 4. Employees The New Investment Act places restrictions on the extent to which a foreign investor can employ foreign employees.

• Unskilled workers must be Myanmar nationals • Foreign skilled workers can be employed but the minimum proportion of Myanmar nationals employed as skilled workers is required to increase incrementally throughout the life of the business and the investor is required to provide training to increase the technical skills of those Myanmar workers:

- 25% Myanmar nationals by the end of the second year following the commencement of business; - 50% by the end of the fourth year following the commencement of business; and - 75% by the end of the sixth year following the commencement of business. - If an investor employs foreign skilled workers and Myanmar skilled workers, salary discrimination is not permitted on the basis of nationality.

Investors are required to enter into written contracts of employment with employees in accordance with applicable employment laws. As the employment laws are likely to be revised in the near future, it is presently difficult to determine with certainty the cost of labour throughout the term of the investment. 5. Arbitration Investors in south east Asia frequently question the extent to which local courts can resolve commercial disputes in a timely and predictable manner. Given Myanmar’s long period of economic isolation and the corresponding absence of large scale commercial litigation in the Myanmar courts, the availability of arbitration is likely to be a welcome development to investors, so the title of section 43 of the New Investment Law ‘Arbitration’ is encouraging. Investors should take care when preparing investment documentation, especially when entering

into a joint venture, to ensure that an appropriate arbitration clause is included – otherwise the default position would be for the existing laws of Myanmar to apply, which is likely to result in the dispute being heard by the Myanmar courts. As Myanmar is not a party to the New York Convention (the 1958 United Nations convention for the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards, which sets out an enforcement framework for cross‑border arbitral awards and which has been adopted by many countries in Asia), foreign investors will need to make sure that their arbitration clause accommodates the lesser known 1927 Geneva Convention on arbitration, to which Myanmar is a party. All references to ‘Watson, Farley & Williams’ and ‘the firm’ in this brochure mean Watson, Farley & Williams LLP and/or its affiliated undertakings. Any reference to a ‘partner’ means a member of Watson, Farley & Williams LLP, or a member of or partner in an affiliated undertaking of either of them, or an employee or consultant with equivalent standing and qualification. This briefing is produced by Watson, Farley & Williams. It provides a summary of the legal issues, but is not intended to give specific legal advice. The situation described may not apply to your circumstances. If you require advice or have questions or comments on its subject, please speak to your usual contact at Watson, Farley & Williams. This publication constitutes attorney advertising.

Chris Osborne is a Partner at Watson, Farley & Williams E-mail: Tel: + 66 2 665 7837

Hope for early movers in Yangon hotel market By Andrew Langdon


ollowing economic and social reforms in Myanmar, there has been such strong growth in visitors to Yangon in the past year that the city’s international quality hotel market has become severely undersupplied, pushing the average daily rate up by 350 percent from 2007 to end 2012. In response to the strong trading performance and lack of supply, there are many new hotel development projects coming on stream across the city. However, the Yangon market still offers plenty of opportunities for early movers. Strong growth in number of international arrivals International visitor arrivals to Yangon have grown rapidly achieving year-on-year growth rates of 24.8 British Ambassador Mark Kent (fifth from left) joins staff at the opening of the new UK visa application centre in Bangkok., 25.9 British Ambassador Mark Kent (fifth from left) joins staff at the opening of the new UK visa application centre in Bangkok. and 21.7 British Ambassador Mark Kent (fifth from left) joins staff at the opening of the new UK visa application centre in Bangkok. in 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively. In 2012 international visitor arrivals to the former capital grew substantially by approximately 53 percent to around 559,000. Consequently, hotels in Yangon are now experiencing significant growth in demand from both corporate and leisure travellers while the city’s hotel market has not been well prepared to accommodate such a rapid demand growth. According to Myanmar’s Ministry of Tourism, there are approximately 8,000 hotel rooms currently in Yangon. While opinion 28

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differs on which hotels are fit for international standards, the general consensus amongst hoteliers and various industry sources appears to be in the range of 1,500 to 2,500 rooms. Most hotels have been running at full capacity during weekdays throughout the year and also at weekends during the high leisure season. Fast growing hotel demand has pushed the average daily rate in 2012 up by more than 350% from 2007 albeit from a very low base. The expected supply and demand dynamics over the next few years give the opportunity to substantially increase room rates. International quality hotel supply forecast to grow Strong trading performance and lack of supply have encouraged new hotel developments in Yangon. Based on current estimates, international quality hotel supply in Yangon is expected to grow at 36.7 percent per annum (CAGR) from 2013 to 2016 assuming

that all projects are completed. Given the continued growth in visitor arrivals, construction lag and potential economic, legal and political risks, Yangon will likely continue to experience a major shortage of hotel rooms for the next 5 – 10 years until substantial room supply enters the market. The market is not without challenges Conducting business in Myanmar is still very challenging given the lack of a transparent legal framework and a modern banking system and hence any investment in Myanmar carries a high level of risk. Signed into law during November 2012, Myanmar’s new foreign investment law is aimed at bringing in foreign capital to rapidly address numerous shortages and to grow the economy. The law stipulates that foreign investors will not require a local partner to set up a business. Foreigners will be able to own 100 percent of a

Despite the more favourable foreign investment law, certain aspects of it, particularly clauses on transfer of ownership and dispute settlement, remain unclear. Therefore investors continue to be worried by the ambiguity and other potential setbacks in human rights abuses around the country that will directly affect whether sanctions remain suspended. The first full democratic election in 2015 will determine if the country is truly set to embrace change.

mobile phones in Myanmar • The recent downward revisions of car import taxes and the influx of visitors have rapidly resulted in congested roads • Myanmar is planning to build a new airport that will be able to handle 10 million passengers per annum. Construction is expected to start in June 2013 with the airport becoming operational by 2016. Until then, the current airport, Yangon Mingaladon, will become increasingly congested • Flooding still also frequently occurs in Yangon during the wet season. Until the government improves road and drainage infrastructure in the touristic areas, it is unlikely that leisure visitors will grow significantly during the wet season, which will affect visitors arrivals into Yangon where they tend to begin and end their trip

At the municipal level, infrastructure needs to be built and improved to bring the city and the country up to the level of a modern nation state.

In addition, the lack of tertiary education and a skilled labour pool will also pose challenges in the short to medium term.

• The country still frequently experiences power shortages as most of the power is exported to China (PRC) • There is no global network for

Despite all of these challenges, Yangon is positioned to grow much faster than any other emerging market in Asia and is likely to generate high

company in Myanmar with any share in a joint venture with a domestic partner mutually agreed upon by both parties. Concurrently, investors will enjoy various tax incentives such as income tax exemptions of up to five consecutive years while land leases have been extended to 50 years with options from the government to extend an additional two 10 year periods.

levels of growth across all industries (albeit from a low base). Specifically, companies in mining, energy, telecommunications, banking, real estate, legal, healthcare and hospitality seek to gain the most over the next few years. The opportunities in real estate are particularly attractive with a severe shortage of supply in the office, hotel, residential and retail sectors. In the hotel sector, even if international quality supply triples in the next few years, the Yangon hotel market still offers plenty of opportunities for early movers, given the severe lack of capacity currently.

Andrew Langdon is Senior Vice President, Hotels and Hospitality Group Jones Lang LaSalle. Further information: com. Tel: 02 624 6400

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Time is REIT for real estate investment trusts By Sorachon Boonsong


his year started with a bang for property developers with long-awaited regulations for Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) taking effect on 1st January. Thanks to these new REIT regulations, issued by the Capital Market Supervisory Board under Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), property developers may now take advantage of a new real-estate fundraising vehicle while public investors are provided an alternate investment product. Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITs, are a type of real estate investment regulated under trust law. In Thailand, the Trusts for Transactions in the Capital Market Act was introduced in 2007 in order to permit the use of trusts as investment vehicles for capital market transactions. In a REIT, the trustee holds legal title to the properties in the trust, which is managed for the benefit of beneficiaries. A REIT manager will seek benefit from the REIT property under the supervision of the trustee and can only do so by leasing out the assets to lessees or operators. Ownership is represented by REIT certificates, offered to public investors by the REIT manager. All REITs must be listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET). The regulations require REITs to be established in Thailand and stipulate characteristics of REIT structure and operation, including restrictions on the type of properties in which REITs can invest. Some of the key requirements include:


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tain credit rating REITs can invest in properties outside Thailand The trust unit must be listed on the SET within 45 days after the closure of the sale A REIT manager and trustee must be licenced by the SEC and must not have any conflict of in-

terest with the REIT A licenced REIT manager or REIT settlor will be responsible for seeking approval from the SEC for a sales offering of trust units Persons in the same group shall not hold more than 50 percent of the total trust units sold

Foreign restrictions on investment in real property is applicable for the holding of REIT units investing in real property in Thailand At least 75 percent of the value of trust units offered for sale, including the borrowings, must be made in real property that is ready to generate income. Investment in incomplete projects must not exceed 10 percent of the REIT’s total asset value after the sales offering of trust units REITs can generate income only by leasing out real property. Rental payments received by REITs must be at a fixed rate with variable (by performance) rental income not exceeding 50 percent of fixed rental income

According to the regulations pertaining to a REIT trustee, the trustee is responsible for (i) ensuring that the trust deed of the REIT be in line with relevant regulations; (ii) supervising the conduct of the REIT manager to be in compliance with the trust deed and relevant regulations; (iii) attending all meetings of trust unit-holders; and (iv) providing an opinion to trust unit-holders in relation to the passing of any resolutions. The trustee must be licenced by the SEC and be either: (i) a commercial bank, financial institution, or securities company with the following qualifications: (a) having paid-up capital of not less than Baht 100 million; (b) having a strong financial standing; (c) having an appropriate system and personnel for providing trustee services; and (d) having mechanisms to avoid a conflict of interest between said entity and the REIT; or (ii) a limited company or public limited company, established under Thai law, with not less than 99 percent of total shares held by a person in (i). It is a conflict of interest for a trustee to hold more than five percent of the total trust units of the REIT. In addition, the trustee must not be associated with the REIT manager; for example, the trustee cannot hold more than five percent of total shares of the REIT manager and vice versa.

Additionally, major shareholders, directors or management of the trustee may not be the same as those of the REIT manager. The REIT manager must be licensed by the SEC and be either: (i) an asset management company; or (ii) a company established under Thai law with the following qualifications: (a) having paidup registered capital of not less than Baht 10 million; (b) having as its main objective the management of the REIT; (c) having independent directors of not less than one-third of the total amount of directors; and (d) not having a director, management, responsible person, or major shareholders who have restricted qualifications as prescribed by the SEC. The regulation pertaining to a REIT manager (the REIT Manager Regulation) also prescribes a standard of conduct for the REIT manager. Generally, the REIT manager should act in the best interest of the REIT and employ certain systems, such as controlling systems and risk management systems, to ensure that it can operate and manage the REIT effectively. The trust deed is the most important document of the REIT, as it specifies the rights and duties of all relevant parties of the REIT, namely the trustee, the REIT units-holder and the REIT manager. The regulation concerning a trust deed (the Trust Deed Regulation) outlines the minimum requirements to be included in the trust deed and prescribes additional requirements in relation to the operation and management of the REIT. Examples of such requirements include (i) the procedure for capital increase and capital reduction of a REIT, (ii) the making of an investment and additional investment by the REIT, (iii) the investment of the REIT in properties other than real property, (iv) the conducting of property appraisal, (v) the entering into

connected transactions between the REIT and the REIT manager or its related parties, (vi) the convening of a REIT units-holder meeting and the passing of resolutions, (vii) the disclosure of information and (viii) the distribution of profit. With regard to profit distribution, the Trust Deed Regulation requires the REIT to distribute at least 90 percent of its net profits. REITs and PFPO REITs allow more flexibility in permissible investments and can hold a broader range of physical properties than the Property Fund for Public Offering (PFPO). REITS may invest in any type of real property that can generate rental revenue, excluding property involving immoral or illegal businesses. REITS established under the Thai REIT Regulations are permitted to invest in offshore properties. In addition, in terms of borrowing restrictions, the maximum amount of total borrowing under a REIT is 35 percent to 60 percent of its total asset value, compared to 10 percent under the PFPO. Holding restrictions are also more attractive under REITS. However, there are lingering issues of concern regarding making REITs a new haven for foreign investors. These include factors such as the taxes on profits gained from REITS and the land lease period, which is currently limited to 30 years. Nevertheless, as the main regulations are now in place, REITs offer attractive options for property developers to explore.

Sorachon Boonsong is a Partner at Baker & McKenzie, Ltd. He can be contacted at sorachon. or phone: (66) 2 636 2000

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Steve calls for new mindset in banking By Steve Bertamini


he real benefits of technology will only be unleashed when banks truly put customers at the centre of what they do. Across Asia, consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with technology with growing numbers using smart phones and tablets to bank ‘on the go’. Channels have multiplied, giving customers more choice than ever before. However, for all the innovation in banking in recent years, the drop in loyalty rates across Asia suggests banks are failing to get closer to their customers and are not providing them with sufficiently useful and convenient products and services. Digitisation has the potential to transform banking from a utility into a great consumer experience, but we are evidently not quite there yet. The problem is, retail banks don’t think retail – they think bank. On the surface, banking has changed drastically with online, mobile banking and social media joining the branch, ATM and telephone in a multi-channel mix. But a deeper-level strategic shift inside financial institutions has been slower in coming, and without this, customers are unlikely to experience a step-change in what it feels like to bank. The choice of channels may have widened but banking could still be easier, more intuitive and more helpful for people. Think of the great retailers of this world. The way they anticipate and meet your needs intuitively from the minute you step over the threshold or click onto their home page. The way they lay out their stores and display their products to mimic, even


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prompt, your thinking. Banks could learn something from this, easing the experience of banking so customers can get on with their lives. It should be clear by now that adopting technology is about more than churning out app after app, or having the most sophisticated portal, or getting into every digital space available. Technology has to be useful, intuitive and most importantly seamless. To unleash the full potential of digitisation, banks have to do what great retailers do –structure their business around the customer, and away from disaggregated product and channel transactions. They have to ask themselves not so much which products the customer will buy, but more importantly what the customer wants

to do. This means spending much more time listening to customers and understanding their needs. One disruptive game-changer is that today’s consumers are techsavvy and mobile. They want banking that is fast, convenient and personalised; that rewards loyalty; that not only meets their financial needs but anticipates them. Online and mobile banking channels have made transactions easier, but banks are yet to join the dots, so that customers are able to continue conversations across channels, however and whenever they want. Banking has evolved into a multi-channel environment but not yet a truly seamless one. So what should banks do?

First, they should be very clear that while banking may be changing, people’s financial needs are not. People still have to deposit money, make payments and get paid, buy their own homes, take out loans, and grow and protect their wealth. Digitisation doesn’t alter these fundamental needs; it merely provides new and easier ways of meeting them. Second, banks should not become blinded by digitisation to focus on online and mobile at the expense of other channels. Customers value access to their money across a whole range of platforms, including the traditional branch, ATMs and the telephone. I might be happy to check my balance on my mobile, but choose to do my investment research online. I may ask about a mortgage on the phone, but prefer to walk into a branch to complete the application with a relationship manager. Understanding what drives behaviour and the way in which different channels need to complement one another, is crucial to turning banking into a relevant and seamless experience for the customer. Third, banks need to become better at using their data to support customers proactively, anticipating needs, under-

standing behaviours, and making it easier and faster for customers to act. Customer interfaces should be tailored to the individual’s needs, and processes simplified, for example through the introduction of more online applications or ‘one-click’ functions for relevant products and services.

We know we have further to go, but we are working on it – making innovation a business priority, changing the way ideas flow through our organisation, collaborating with other companies to lead, not follow, in the transformation of banking. If banks don’t, others will.

Fourth, banks should make it easier for customers to engage in extended conversations across all channels. A customer may wish to use a branch to find out about a new type of fixed deposit, use a tablet to review the details over coffee and later confirm the transaction at an ATM. The conversation should be continuous and personalised and happen whenever and however the customer wants it. This means banks need to improve connectivity between channels and business functions – grasping the opportunity to get up close and personal with the customer and deliver a seamless, consistently great service.

With loyalty rates dropping, consumer power growing and new competitors knocking on the door – now is the time for banks to take customer service to a new level, embracing the great opportunity of digitisation to add real value to people’s lives.

Fifth, banks should make technology everybody’s business. Every member of staff needs to understand how digitisation affects the bank’s interface with the customer and its future business model. Banks are already technology organisations; now they need to develop a true innovation culture.

Steve Bertamini is CEO of Consumer Banking at Standard Chartered. For further information, please contact: Trongjate Namwong, Corporate Affairs, Standard Chartered (Thai) Pcl. Tel: +66 27248024; Email:

Crucial step for Thailand’s new Copyright Act B

aker McKenzie has issued an advisory note about the recent approval by the Thai Cabinet of the draft of a new Copyright Act. The note reads: ‘On 21 January 2013, the Cabinet approved the draft of the new Copyright Act (the “Draft Act”), which had been forwarded to it for approval by the Council of State.

With approval from the Cabinet, the Draft Act will now be forwarded to the House of Representatives for consider-

ation and approval. The key changes to the Draft Act are: 1. Unauthorised sound recording and/ or filming in movie theatres has now been included as an offence. Prior to inclusion of this offence in the Draft Act, the government introduced a draft Recording of Motion Pictures in Movie Theaters Bill in April 2010. However, such Bill failed to be approved by the Cabinet. Therefore, this offence was included in the Draft Act instead.

2. Reproduction or adaptation of copyright work for the benefit of the blind, the deaf, or people with mental retardation or other disabilities, provided it is not done for profit, is a new exception to infringement. Once the House of Representatives and the Senate approve the Draft Act, the Cabinet will submit it to His Majesty the King for final approval and then it will be announced in the Government Gazette, becoming law.

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Record numbers visit Thailand in 2012 T

hailand achieved record breaking visitor arrival numbers in 2012. Figures released by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports show that 22,303,065 visitors were logged last year, an increase of almost 16 percent on 2011. The figures delighted TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni. He said, “We are overjoyed to have achieved this result in the year the people of Thailand commemorated the 85th birthday of His Majesty the King. It is also a tribute to the cooperation and creativity of the entire Thai travel and tourism industry for the huge effort that has been made to ensure that travel and tourism remains a leading industry for job creation, distribution of income nationwide and contribution to culture, heritage and environmental preservation.” The governor added that the primary contributor to this result was the prevalence of global, regional and local peace and stability. “Last year the world was generally at peace and there were no major geopolitical, economic, environmental or natural disasters and no health pandemics. “Travel and tourism can only flourish worldwide if the underlying conditions that support it remain free of disturbance and disruption. That is one of the most important lessons for the entire industry to learn worldwide,” he said. The highlight of the results was the fact that six countries, five of which are within the Asia-Pacific region (Malaysia, China, Japan, Korea, India and Russia), are now each producing more than one million annual visitor arrivals. The following performance analysis by market is based on the figures tabulated so far:


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percent. United Kingdom is the second highest source market with a total of 870,164, up 2.98 percent, followed by Germany 681,566, up 10.08 percent. THE AMERICAS: Arrivals from the Americas showed a good growth of 13.40 percent to 1,080,148. The principal market USA) increased by 12.57 percent to 767,420. Arrivals from both Canada and Brazil showed positive growth of 12.18 percent and 22.18 percent respectively. OVERVIEW: Visitors from East Asia totalled 12,502,194 (+20.84%), Europe 5,617,817 (+10.12%), the Americas 1,080,148 (+13.40%), South Asia 1,289,641 (+11.36%), Oceania 1,046,753 (+12.13%), Middle East 604,659 (+0.58%) and Africa 161,853 (+17.36%).

SOUTH ASIA: Arrivals from South Asia grew by a strong 11.36% to 1,289,641. India has become a top of the list from South Asian market with arrivals up by 11.03% to 1,015,865, making it the region’s fastest growing market, followed by Sri Lanka 73,338, (+36.73%).

EAST ASIA: East Asian visitor arrivals to Thailand comprise the biggest market share of all visitors. Of the 22.30 million arrivals in 2012, a total of 12.50 million (+20.84%) were from East Asia regions.

OCEANIA: Arrivals from Oceania grew by 12.13% to 1,046,753 visitors. Australian visitors were up 12.14% to 930,599 and New Zealand +12.28% to 113,509.

Two source markets, China (2.7 million) and Malaysia (2.5 million) are now generating more than two million annual arrivals each with Japan (1.3 million) and Korea (1.1 million) both exceeding one million arrivals. ASEAN countries in total generated over six million arrivals in 2012 with spectacular growth shown by Cambodia (+59.74%), Vietnam (+24.36%), Indonesia (+21.02%), Myanmar (+17.40%) and Laos (+6.63%). EUROPE: The European visitors showed a good growth rate of 10.12 percent to 5.61 million. Russia is the largest source market from Europe with arrivals of 1,317,387, up 24.97

MIDDLE EAST: Arrivals from Middle East showed a slight growth of 0.58% to 604,659 with all markets up. Israel is the largest source market with arrivals of 129,184 (+3.27%) followed by UAE 113,174 (+4.20%) and Kuwait 64,536 (+15.68%). AFRICA: Arrivals from Africa were up by 17.36% to 161,853. South Africa is a major market and has showed significant growth of 10.22% to 75,496. The TAT is confident that if the global, regional and local situation remains stable then Thailand will receive some 24.5 million arrivals in 2013, generating a projected tourism income of 1,149 billion baht.

Currency issues could hit tourism revenue targets T

hailand’s Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong (right) has acknowledged that the strengthening of the baht is a challenge for the tourism industry, especially in its attempt to achieve revenues of two trillion Baht by 2015. The minister told a seminar in Bangkok that, if the baht continues to rise in value, the nation’s tourism industry will be in danger. The seminar, organised by the held by the Association of Thai Travel Agents and Thai Hotels Association, attracted a broad crosssection of industry representatives. This year the number of internation-

al arrivals to Thailand is projected to top 24 million. The finance minister added that the tourism industry is one of the key economic drivers and he agreed to cooperate with the private sector in projects initiated by operators to help boost revenue. He said that the three main means of reaching the two trillion target by 2015 were to increase further the numbers of international visitors to Thailand; persuading them to stay longer, and targetting wealthier tourists with higher disposable income. Total tourism revenue in 2012 was 1.46 trillion Baht and is expected to reach 1.59 trillion Baht this year.

Thailand ranks as top three tourist destination T

hailand has been rated the second best long-haul destination in the 2013 Travel Trends Report issued by leading UK tour operator Kuoni. Thailand also makes the top ten listings in categories for weddings and honeymoons. Listing the top three selling destinations for 2013 as the Maldives, Thailand, Sri Lanka the report states that ‘the fact that Thailand occupies the No 2 slot in our Top 10 Destinations is no surprise. The country offers holidays for everyone from captivating cities such as Bangkok with its floating markets to small island hideaways to languish in, overlaid with a friendly, open culture’. The world’s austere economic outlook will drive a

greater need for opportunities to escape the doom and gloom. The power of a holiday will not diminish and the allure of the Maldives, Thailand and Sri Lanka will continue’.

Kuoni has been undertaking the annual Travel Trends Report since 1980. Figures in the 2013 report are based on statistics from booking patterns made between January to December 2012 for holidays during 2012 and 2013, actual passenger numbers, customer behaviour and feedback. TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni said, “The trends indicated in the Kuoni report are proof that the entire Thai tourism industry has got its marketing and product-development strategies right. Keeping a watch on lifestyle trends and demographic changes has helped us to ensure that we target our customers correctly.”

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Fund management needs woman’s touch By Paul Gambles


recent report by consultants Rothstein Kass suggests that over the last five years, up to 31st December 2012, hedge and alternative funds run by female managers outperformed those run by men. In 2012 alone, women achieved returns almost six percent higher than men, with a return of just under nine percent. Yet the report states that there are only some 100 female hedge or alternative fund managers globally, that women tend to run smaller mandates than men, and that women are given less opportunity to take on more senior roles. Nevertheless there have been some notable women managing funds, such as Abby Joseph Cohen at Goldman Sachs, Fidelity’s Abby Johnson, Carol Galley – formerly of Mercury Asset Management and regarded as ‘the most powerful woman in The City of London’ in the 1990s – and Nicola Horlick, founder and principal at Bramdean which specialises in women clients. Additionally, Meredith Whitney is largely credited with producing research on sub-prime mortgage exposures, alerting her ex-colleague John Paulson, bringing him spectacular gains and worldwide fame in the Global Financial Crisis. Among the portfolio managers recommended by MBMG, Ruffer’s senior team is almost 25 percent women while MitonOptimal’s Head of International Portfolio Management is Joanne Baynham,


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Joanne Baynham from MitonOptimal with MBMG Director Paul Gambles

who manages or co-manages five of their main mandates. Edouard Carmignac has named his daughter Maxime to one day lead his business. MBMG Group’s own CEO is Jan Sumanus, a Thai lady who heads a group featuring experienced foreign men including Graham MacDonald, John Sim and me. She was interviewed recently on the MoneyChannel about her unusual situation. Rothstein Kass’ report makes the point that the limited number of female investment managers is a self-fulfilling supply issue – there are few opportunities given to women to manage funds. Therefore there are few opportunities for them to develop track records and make their names, resulting in the fact that there are very few

leading fund women fund managers. Given this situation, there is no incentive to give opportunities to women to manage funds. And so on, ad infinitum. Meredith Jones of Rothstein Kass believes that women managers outperform men because they are more capable managers of risk. She also suggests that women are often restricted to smaller mandates, which tend to outperform their larger equivalents; thus women are at a statistical advantage in fund performance. I’m not convinced by either of these theories. To me it’s perhaps just so much more difficult, even in the 21st century, for women fund managers to find opportunities that only the very best rise to the top whereas men with more me-

diocre capabilities are given client funds to manage. Maybe women are not innately better at managing money but perhaps the investment world gives opportunities to a far greater mediocrity of male investment managers that are denied to all except the very best women. It is not only women who outperform their male counterparts. In The Observer’s 2012 stockpicking challenge a ginger cat called Orlando also outperformed a group of professional male equity managers and some students in choosing the overall five best-performing companies from the FTSE All-Share index. He picked his stocks by throwing his toy mouse at a grid of numbers representing constituent FTSE companies and generated a 10.84 percent return, more than three times better than the professionals. It could well be that cats make better managers than male or female

humans. However, a more rational conclusion is that stockpicking is highly random, generating little Alpha or outperformance. Investors should instead concentrate on 90 percent of returns that come from asset allocation (i.e. whether or not to invest in stocks at all), rather than asset selection - choosing particular stocks to invest in. Generating returns by asset allocation is a proven skill, whereas generating them by stockpicking is, in most cases, a myth. Thus, as recent data shows, an ever-increasing proportion of equity methods are made through passive strategies rather than active ones. At MBMG, we find that replicating a stock index through and Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) or Contract for Difference (CFD) allows us to focus on asset allocation, which drives 90 percent of differences between portfolios.

For me the key lesson from Orlando’s story is that not only is stockpicking largely irrelevant but it’s also now practically impossible. The vital conclusion from the Rothstein Kass report is that investors need to seek out the best portfolio managers, male or female, and ignore the mediocrity of the herd. Mediocrity in investment management may be a manly make preserve but excellence is limited to very few women and also very few men too.

Paul Gambles may be reached at: or phone (66) 2 665 2534

Unilever Thailand receives Green Industry Award U nilever Thai Holdings Limited has achieved the Green Industry Awards level 4 (Green culture), the highest level awarded in 2012 among all industrial sectors in Thailand. This award was presented by the Ministry of Industry, in cooperation with Provincial Officers, Industrial Estates and Institutional Networks across the country, to the manufacturing company with the best culture committed to reducing environmental impact and promoting sustainability.

This marks another steady step toward our sustainability targets and the Unilever Thai Holdings team will continue to strive for the highest industry standard again in the years to come.

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Bangkok office rents hit record levels B

angkok office rents rose to their highest levels ever in 2012 surpassing the previous 1992 peak. Average grade A rents in the central business district (CBD) reached a level of 770 Baht per square metre per month and the Park Ventures Ecoplex on Wireless Road (pictured right) became Bangkok’s most expensive office building – achieving rents of 925 Baht per square metre per month in 2012 – according to CBRE.

Bangkok’s grade A CBD rents rose by nine percent in 2012 but Bangkok’s office rents remained the cheapest in the Asia Pacific region and CBRE is predicting that demand will continue to grow. The total amount of office space in Bangkok reached 8.1 million square metres and the overall occupancy rate was 88 percent, compared to 86 percent at the end of 2011. Total net take up (the growth in the amount of occupied office space) was 160,000 square metres in 2012 compared to 83,000 square metres in 2011, demonstrating the increase in demand. There was 45,000 square metres of new space completed in 2012. There are only 430,000 square metres under construction due for completion between this year and the end of 2015. Only 88,000 square metres will be completed in Bangkok’s CBD. Bhiraj Tower, a 50,000 square metre grade A building opposite Emporium, is due for completion in 2014 and AIA Sathorn, a 38,500 square metre grade A building, is due for completion in 2015. “There is limited choice of space 38

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in grade A CBD buildings,” said James Pitchon, Executive Director and head of CBRE Research & Consulting. “Sathorn Square and Park Ventures Ecoplex, the two most recently completed grade A developments, are now 70 percent and 87 percent committed. Tenants wanting more than 3,000 square metres on consecutive floors have few choices.”

Hong Kong was the most expensive location with prime office rentals of 6,600 baht per square metre per month - over eight times more expensive than Bangkok even though prime Hong Kong Rents fell by 18 percent during 2012. Of 31 cities in the Asia Pacific Region covered by CBRE Research, 20 cities saw rents rise and 11 cities saw rents fall. (continued on next page)

Passenger demand grows but margins remain tight T

he International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced full-year traffic data for 2012 showing a 5.3 percent year-on-year increase in passenger demand (down marginally on 2011 growth of 5.9%) and a 1.5 percent fall in demand for cargo. Load factors for the year were near record levels at 79.1 percent. Demand in international markets expanded at a faster rate (6.0%) than domestic travel (4.0%). In both cases emerging markets were the main drivers of growth. The 1.5 percent fall in demand for air cargo compared to 2011 marked the second consecutive year of decline, following a 0.6 percent contraction in 2011. The freight load factor for the year was 45.2 percent.

Four out of the five most expensive office locations in the world were in the Asia Pacific region. Hong Kong (Central) was the most expensive followed by London, Tokyo, Beijing and New Delhi. Globally, office markets have cooled over the past year with slowing economic growth in China, recession in Europe and a tepid economic recovery in North America. There was a marked slowdown globally in leasing activity in the banking and finance but prime office occupancy costs increased in 74 of 133 markets tracked by CBRE. Global office occupancy costs have increased 2.1 percent over the past year, led by the Americas with a 5.2 percent annual increase and with Asia Pacific at 2.6 percent. Tight market conditions, strong demand for high quality space and limited new supply are the major factors driving big increase in occupancy costs in prime office markets.

“Passenger demand grew strongly in 2012 despite the economic bad news that dominated much of the last twelve months. This demonstrates just how integral global air travel is for today’s connected world. At the same time, near-record load factors illustrate the extreme care with which airlines manage capacity. Growth and high aircraft utilisation combined to help airlines deliver an estimated US$6.7 billion profit in 2012 despite high fuel prices. But with a net profit margin of just one percent the industry is only just keeping its head above water,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “In contrast to the growth in passenger markets the air cargo market contracted by 1.5 percent. The

industry suffered a one-two punch. World trade declined sharply and the goods that were traded shifted towards bulk commodities more suited for sea shipping. The outstanding bright spot was the development of trade between Asia and Africa which supported strong growth for airlines based in the Middle East (14.7%) and Africa (7.1%),” added Mr Tyler. Asia-Pacific carriers saw passenger growth of 5.2 percent in 2012 – an improvement on the 4.0 percent growth experuenced in 2011 (although the 2011 figures were affected by the tsunami in Japan). The 2012 performance was in line with the global average and contributed about a fifth of the total industry growth.

Frank in upbeat mood


ast year produced astonishing results for the Bangkok condominium market, according to Frank Khan, Executive Director, Head of Residential at Knight Frank Chartered (Thailand). Speaking at a reception to mark the company’s 15 years in Thailand, Frank Khan said that limitation of available land for high-rise building development in the Sukhumvit area and CBD areas has created a positive effect to other areas such as Ratchadapisek and Ladprao.

“Rental rates in the past 10 months have been very good. The average vacancy period was not more than 90 days and returns were about five to six percent per annum. This trend happened after the announcement that Thailand will play an important role in the AEC, prompting many European and American professionals to move to Bangkok to set up their own businesses or to look for jobs,” said Frank. He predicted that the residential market in 2013 will command a good response from local and overseas buyers. “The country’s

economic growth, political stability, government mega projects and role of AEC are core elements to be considered since they directly affect this market,” he added. The Brief

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Member News

British Council showcases best of British education M ore than 1,000 scholarships were on offer to students at the recent Education UK exhibition in Bangkok staged by the British Council.

The event, which took place in January at the Centara Grand Hotel at Central World, Bangkok, brought together representatives from 102 educational bodies including schools, colleges, language institutions and universities from the United Kingdom. This was the largest such exhibition to focus upon UK education opportunities and the British Council believes that the number of Thai students opting to study in the United Kingdom could rise by up to 10 percent in 2013. Uraiwan Samolee, Head of Business Development, Education sector at the British Council, said, “Not only does this exhibition mark an expansion of interest in the UK among Thai students and parents but it also shows that organisations from the UK foresee the potential of Thai students and Thailand as an appealing educational market.” The exhibition calendar featured talks by successful alumni, free IELTS workshops and the UK alumni grand reunion. In addition to acquiring new students through the education exhibition the British Council maintains close contact with former UK students in Thailand by hosting the annual grand reunion – the largest gathering and networking opportunity for UK alumni in


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Thailand. This year those attending met honorary alumni including former Thailand prime Minister Anand Panyarachun and Dr ArtOng Jumsai Na Ayudhaya, who worked as a scientist at the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The British Council also coordinates career match making services for UK alumni, including a job fair in Bangkok and a virtual job fair (due to go live in February) to help UK graduates find suitable employment. Chris Gibson, British Council Director in Thailand, added,

“Considering that we have more than doubled the number of visitors to the Education UK Fair in the last two years, resulting in strong year-on-year growth of Thai students studying in the UK and over 400 UK alumni attending the gala dinner, I think this year will certainly be our year.” BCCT Executive Director Greg Watkins (above right) briefed the audience on the Chamber’s activities and services in Thailand. Khun Petcharat Intrakulchai from Manpower Thailand (above left) gave an over view of the nation’s employment market.

MBE for Graham marks service to British business M BMG’s founding partner and former BCCT Chairman Graham Macdonald has been awarded the MBE in the New Year’s Honours list of Queen Elizabeth II. Graham Macdonald received the honour ‘for services to British business interests in Thailand’. “While this award gives me enormous pride and satisfaction I would be the first to say that what I have been able to achieve with the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (BCCT) and at MBMG Group owes a great deal to the outstanding support that I have received from colleagues, friends and the vast legion of people who have been so supportive throughout that time,” says Graham. “I like to think that my nomination reflects a job well done not so much by Graham Macdonald but by the dedicated, hard-working and highly capable exceptional individuals at the BCCT and MBMG Group and I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them.” Born in Birmingham, educated at Repton School and University of Bradford, Graham Macdonald previously held positions in sales and management in the UK before arriving in Thailand in 1994 and co-founding MBMG in 1995 with Paul Gambles. Throughout his career in Thailand, Graham has been an active member of the business and charitable community. He was the founding Chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand

Graham Macdonald, third from left, is now a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Graham is pictured at the inaugural meeting of the BCCT Eastern Seaboard Group in 1997.

Eastern Seaboard in 1997, and served on the main BCCT Board from 1998 to 2012 (for the last seven years as either Vice Chairman or Chairman). For three of those years he was also Chairman of the BCCT Charity Group. He is now he is President of the South African Thai Chamber of Commerce, and has been a Director of the Board of Trade of Thailand since April 2011. Graham was President of ‘Care for Kids’ from 1998 to 2010, and Secretary of the Lighthouse Club – Eastern Seaboard 2006/07. He is Vice Chairman of the ‘World of Wine’, a wine distribution business which gives its entire profits to charitable causes. He was elected as President of the Royal Brit-

ish Legion Thailand (RBLT) in 2009, a charity that also helps the Thai Veterans hospitals. RBLT Secretary Bert Elson was awarded the British Empire Medal in the same Honours List for ‘services to the British community in Thailand’. Graham is also well-known as a writer for various publications and was nominated for the Lorenzo Natali Prize for journalism, an awarded created by the European Union for reporting on human rights and democracy in the developing world. As a Managing Director of MBMG Group, Graham in based in both Bangkok and Pattaya, where he continues to serve his clients both in Thailand and in 21 other countries across the world.

The Brief

Issue 1/2013


Member News

Impressive growth for Grant Thornton Thailand G

rant Thornton Thailand grew revenues by 27 percent in the year ending 30 September 2012. Grant Thornton International reported record combined global revenues of US$4.2 billion, driven by 10.4 percent growth in US dollars (18.8% in Euros, €3.2 billion) and 13.2 percent in local currency.

provider of high quality, professional services to dynamic organisations, helping them unlock their potential for growth.” Grant Thornton expects continued growth in Thailand. The company announcement states that ‘the 2013 forecasted GDP growth of around 4.6 percent is still very healthy where most economies are stagnant at best. Thailand’s geographical and economic position within ASEAN and the growing Asian region, coupled with its developed infrastructure, ensures it remains an attractive investment destination.

Asia Pacific reported revenue growth of 33 percent to US$579m, boosted by significant M&A activity in Australia and China. India reported strong organic growth of 25 percent. In Thailand the company grew revenues by 27 percent, despite the uncertainty around the Eurozone crisis, the ‘fiscal cliff ’ in the United States and the slowdown in China weighing heavily on business sentiment. Ian Pascoe, Managing Partner in Thailand, said, “While we are proud

Ian Pascoe

of this accomplishment we believe that the true measure of our success is how well we served our clients. By this measure, I am confident in saying it was a very good year and something we will build upon. Our continued ambition going into 2013 is to be recognised as the leading

‘Foreign Direct Investment is forecast to grow, which should be assisted by the reduction of the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from the 1st January 2013. GDP growth from 2014 to 2017 will average around 4.8 percent per year so ensuring that Thailand continues to be a relatively bright spot in an otherwise economically grey worldwide economy’.

Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa has been awarded the prestigious Gold Award by Travelife for constantly providing new opportunities and for improving its local community, the environment and the quality of life in the holiday destination. The award recognises that the property has displayed a high level of commitment to sustainability as well as demonstrating that the hotel minimises the use of chemicals that damage human health and the environment.


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Toy story as NIST backs library project N

IST students have participated in the Mechai Viravaidya Foundation ‘Green Village Toy Library’ initiative. Khun Mechai Viravaidya, Chairman of Population and Community Development Association, visited NIST to collect hundreds of children’s toys donated to the Foundation by students. The initiative started with a presentation to the students by Khun Mechai in November 2012. As ‘service’ and ‘action’ are an integral part of NIST’s International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme the students were inspired to take on the challenge of organising a toy drive. ‘This initiative enabled our Year 5 students to gain a greater insight into the lives of their peers in rural Thai villages. They enjoyed the opportunity to learn about, promote within their school and organise an initiative that will make a great difference to the quality of life for other children.’ said Chris Boreham, Elementary Vice Principal. “The Village Toy Library embodies one of the most important human elements, and that is sharing. The students of NIST are sharing some of what they have with deserving rural students who can borrow the toys for one week and in return they have to perform community service and clean-up activities in the village. This is the beginning of the new philanthropic endeavour, amongst the youth, in Thailand, which we call ‘CSR - Children’s Social Responsibility’,” said Khun Mechai.

Khun Meechai talked to students in Year 5 at NIST.

About The Village Toy Library: The Village Toy Library (VTL) aims to foster a new generation of community-minded and philanthropic children. The VTL emphasises four youth-centred concepts: philanthropy, leadership, community service and participation, and environmental stewardship. With the help and encouragement of parents and grandparents, young urban children will have the opportunity to extend their hands in friendship and generosity by donating toys to rural children. In turn, by performing environmentally–focused community service in lieu of monetary payment, rural children will be able to borrow and enjoy toys. The guiding principle of the Village Toy Library is that access to toys is a human right for children. We hope this small start will eventually foster a new generation of local public-spirited citizens.

The Brief

Issue 1/2013


Member News

hsbc appoints new ceo for Thailand H SBC has appointed Tan Siew Meng as CEO in Thailand. She replaces Matt Lobner, who has moved to new role as Head of Strategy for Commercial Banking with HSBC in the City of London. Miss Tan has extensive corporate and investment banking experience at both HSBC and in her previous roles at Citibank, Barclays de Zoete Wedd and DBS Bank. She was previously Chief Executive Officer for HSBC Mauritius and, before that, Head of Commercial Banking in Singapore. Her replacement in Mauritius is Alastair Bryce.

Guy Harvey-Samuel, Group General Manager and Head of International, HSBC Asia Pacific, said, “Both Siew Meng’s and Alastair’s extensive experience will be invaluable as they join the teams in Thailand and Mauritius. My thanks to Matthew Lobner on successfully leading our Thai operations in the past two years and I wish him every success in his new global role.”

Tan Siew Meng

Becker plans ace service at Elements


Guil goes global

“Wolfgang Becker’s own gourmet restaurant in Trier, Becker’s, is well known for its high degree of creativity and quality and the owner has a reputation for presenting dishes that are always clear, authentic and honest. Mr Becker will prepare his own special set menu dinner (3 courses for 2,200 Baht or 5 courses for 4,200 Baht) at Elements on 6, 7 and 8 March with the first night taking the form of

HSBC has appointed Guil Silva as Head of Global Markets and Treasurer Thailand. Guil succeeds Panya Chanyarungrojn, who has retired from HSBC. Guil joined HSBC in 2001 and worked in London and Madrid before becoming Head of Global Markets for Iberia in 2009. His new appointment is part of Global Markets’ strategy to expand HSBC’s franchise in fastergrowing emerging markets and further strengthen the links between European and Asian-Pacific businesses.

lements restaurant at The Okura Prestige Bangkok welcomes a well-known member of the German‘cooking elite’ as part of the restaurant’s monthly ‘Food is Art’ series. Wolfgang Becker (right), from Germany’s oldest city Trier, arrives in Bangkok in early March.


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a Wine Dinner with matching wines from Le Roc des Anges domaine in Roussillon, southern France,” explains Thomas Jakobi, Culinary Director at The Okura Prestige Bangkok. Becker’s restaurant has won an impressive list of awards and titles and enjoys coveted Michelin 2-star status.

St. Andrews celebrates 10th anniversary in style


t. Andrews International School, Sathorn campus celebrated its 10th anniversary with a fun day fair in the presence of British Ambassador Mark Kent and representatives from the embassies of Kenya, Malaysia and India.

Also present was the school’s founder Roy Barrett along with guests from the International Schools Association of Thailand, the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand and BNH Hospital. Former students from St. Andrews Sathorn witnessed the placing of a 10th anniversary time capsule that will remain buried until 2033.

The special guests also helped plant a tree to celebrate this special day. Funds raised on the day have been donated to the Thai Heart Foundation, under royal patronage of HRH Princess Sirindhorn. St. Andrews children also participated in a t-shirt design competition to mark the 10th anniversary.

Time to branch out

British Ambassador Mark Kent plants a tree to commemorate the school’s 10th anniversary.

A highlight of the annual International Day at St Andrews Sukhumvit 107 campus was the official opening of the school’s new walkway with British Ambassador Mark Kent performing the ribbon-cutting ceremony. This is a celebration of over 30 nationalities represented by the school and International Day provides an opportunity for pupils, staff and parents at St Andrews to display their national colours. Over 30 nationalities were reporesented.

The Brief

Issue 1/2013


Member News

No dispute as Aaron joins Tilleke & Gibbins T illeke & Gibbins has bolstered its insurance practice group by hiring Aaron Le Marquer as a Consultant in the firm’s Bangkok office.

Aaron, who quailed as a solicitor in the United Kingdom, will focus upon a full range of insurance work, including both contentious and non-contentious matters. He will work closely, within the firm’s dispute resolution and litigation team, with clients and the firm’s litigators to develop and implement case strategy for claims arising from insurance and reinsurance disputes. Aaron (pictured right) will also collaborate with the firm’s corporate and commercial group to advise on commercial agreements, policy wordings, and regulatory requirements within the insurance sector in both Thailand and Vietnam.

complex claims for insurers in the US, Europe, Middle East, and Asia. “Aaron is a tremendous addition to our insurance team,” said Tiziana Sucharitkul, Co-Managing Partner and Director for Dispute Resolution at Tilleke & Gibbins. “His in-depth understanding of the insurance industry will be invaluable in serving our multinational clients in this important field.”

Aaron joins Tilleke & Gibbins from AIG Asia Pacific in Singapore where he was Assistant General Counsel. At AIG he had regional responsibility for significant litigation and commercial lines business in 14 Asia Pacific countries. Aaron also worked in the London offices of Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP and Pinsent Masons LLP, handling

The appointment fills an important need at Tilleke & Gibbins as the firm’s insurance practice has seen rapid growth in the amount and complexity of client work it has handled in recent years, according to a press statement. ‘Insurance has become an increasingly prominent practice area in the Thai legal market, particularly in the wake of a large number of claims arising from the 2010 political unrest and the 2011 floods’, the statement added.

Dream roles for Robin and Eugen


obin Lee has been appointed as a Group General Manager of Maikhao Dream Co., Ltd with a seat on the company’s Board of Directors. Robin joined Maikhao Dream Villa Resort & Spa in Phuket as General Manager in June 2011. In his new role he is responsible for the overall hotel operations of the property in Phuket and the Maikhao Dream Resort & Spa, Natai, Phang-Nga.

The Phang-Nga hotel also has a new GM in Eugen Diethelm. He was previously general manager of Bella Vista Resort & Spa, Bella Vista Hotel, Langkawi in Malaysia. Eugen has extensive experience in the hotel sector in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.


The Brief

Issue 1/2013

Eugen Diethelm

Robin Lee

Anniversary celebration at Bangkok Prep M ore than 700 families of Bangkok Prep students, along with friends, staff, teachers and members of Bangkok Prep community, joined together to celebrate the school’s 10th anniversary under the slogan “imagine, create, participate”, created by the students.

The day included several student performances on stage, including the opening of Bangkok Prep’s 10th anniversary mural, which was a painting project participated by students in all levels. Among other activities held during the celebration included international booths of various countries represented in Bangkok Prep’s school, games, raffles and amusement rides.

To celebrate Bangkok Prep’s 10th anniversary, a numbers of events have been held to commemorate this occasion, including Founding Day, which celebrated the laying of the “first stone” of the first building in 2002 and a birthday party for students who turned 10 years old this year. “Bangkok Prep has grown quite considerably during the past 10 years and we have established a solid rep-

utation. We have achieved numerous international accreditations and recently had our first graduating class. This is an auspicious year for us. The 10th year anniversary celebration has been a school wide effort where each member of Bangkok Prep’s community, comprising of over 34 nationalities, demonstrated great spirit and enthusiasm throughout the day,” said Keith Wecker, headmaster of Bangkok Prep.

Banyan Tree Bangkok was voted the world’s ‘Leading City Spa Hotel’ at the recent World Travel awards ceremony in India. Hotel General Manager Nopparat Aumpa said, “We are delighted to have won this award, which recognises our achievement in delivering our unique products and personalised services that make our guest experience so memorable. Our passion towards work is the secret to our success.”

The Brief

Issue 1/2013


Member News

Centara properties named in TripAdvisor awards C

hen Sea Resort & Spa PhuQuoc, Centara Boutique Collection, has been named as one of the Top 25 Hotels in Vietnam in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards for 2013.

The same awards have named Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives as one of the Top 25 Hotels for Service in the Maldives, while Centara Sappaya Design Resort Rayong is named as being in the top rank of Bed and Breakfast in the Rayong Klaeng district. The three awards are made on the basis of the reviews and opinions posted by travellers on the TripAdvisor website.

“We regard TripAdvisor as being an invaluable source of guest feedback,” says Thirayuth Chirathivat, chief executive officer of Centara Hotels & Resorts. “All of us at Centara are delighted to see these three properties receiving such high accolades from our guests.” Centara Hotels & Resorts has 40 deluxe and first-class properties covering all the major tourist destinations in Thailand and a further 18 resorts in the Maldives, Vietnam, Bali Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Mauritius.

Thirayuth Chirathivat

The popular King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, organised by Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas, will be held this year on August 28th – 1st September. The event, now in its twelfth year, has so far raised over US$600,000 to help Thailand’s elephants. This year’s event is again being in Hua Hin. Last year’s tournament featured 12 teams and more than 40 players that included New Zealand All Blacks rugby players and members of the Miss Tiffany’s transgender cabaret. Funds raised from the 2012 King’s Cup event have been donated to a number of projects in Thailand – including one that uses elephants in therapy sessions for children with autism.


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“Last year we were able to take over forty street elephants and make sure they were properly fed. They received vitamins and veterinary care while at the event,” said Minor International CEO Bill Heinecke.

“We must never forget the true meaning of holding this event and that is to raise awareness and as much money as possible towards the conservation and welfare of Thailand’s elephant population.”

Standard Chartered opens new office in Myanmar S

tandard Chartered Bank has officially re-opened its representative office in Yangon. The move establishes it as the only major international bank with a presence in all 10 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) markets.

Standard Chartered believes that financial institutions can play a key role in helping Myanmar re-integrate into the global business community by acting as a catalyst for trade and providing technical assistance to support the country’s efforts in developing a strong and vibrant financial sector. Peter Sands, Standard Chartered Bank’s Group Chief Executive said “The growth of local economies in south east Asia is driving trade and economic success across the region. We believe our presence here will help our global network of wholesale banking clients to tap into these opportunities, and contribute to Myanmar’s efforts to grow in a sustainable manner.

Standard Chartered has made a welcome return to Myanmar with its new representative office in Yangon.

The bank has a history of banking in Myanmar that stretched back to 1862 when the Bank opened its first branch in Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon). That operation was nationalised in 1963. It also operated a representative office in Myanmar from 1995-2004. Standard Chartered offers a very

broad range of wholesale and consumer banking products and services in south east Asia. Through its network of 1,700 offices in 70 markets and long relationship with Myanmar, the bank will be able to assist its international clients to more readily access opportunities in the country.

Standard Chartered Bank (Thai) is giving customers an opportunity to take part in the Standard Chartered Trophy ‘Road to Anfield 2013’ futsal competition involving 12 international teams with one million Baht in prize money at stake. Players must hold a ‘Savings for Fans’ bank account to register for the competition. The Brief

Issue 1/2013



Chamber Events

Economic performance in 2011/2012 and forecasts for 2013 2012


By the Numbers


2013 Average


Key assumptions Average economic growth, 14 key trading partners (%)




3.2 - 4.2




108.0 - 118.0

Export growth, USD (%)




2.3 - 4.3

Import growth, USD (%)




2.5 - 4.5

USD/Thai Baht




29.70 - 31.70

1-day repurchase rate (%)




2.25 - 3.25

Public spending (bt tn)




3.12 - 3.22

GDP growth (%)




4.5 - 5.5

Consumption growth (%)




3.3 - 4.3

• Private consumption (fixed price basis)




3.4 - 4.4

• Public consumption (fixed price basis)




3.0 - 4.0




9.2 - 11.2

• Private investment (fixed price basis)




8.2 - 10.2

• Public investment (fixed price basis)




13.0 - 15.0

Export growth, volume, goods and services (%)




5.6 - 7.6

Import growth, volume, goods and services (%)




4.6 - 6.6

Trade balance (US$bn)




8.4 - 10.4

• Exports (US$bn) (% growth)




9.0 - 11.0

• Imports (US$bn) (% growth)




9.5 - 11.5




0.1- 4.0




0.0 - 1.0

Inflation (%)




2.5 - 3.5

Core inflation (%)




1.4 - 2.4

Unemployment (% of labour force)




0.5 - 0.7

Dubai oil price (USD/bbl)

Chris Bruton Director, Dataconsult Ltd.


ith the New Year 2013 upon us, it is time to look back (not in anger but in relief ) at 2012, and to look forward (with hope springing eternally) to the prospects of the future. This ‘By the Numbers’ presents a Thailand Statistical Update for January to December 2012, together with quarterly economic indicators for 2011 and 2012.


Investment growth (%)

Current account (US$bn) • % of GDP

For economic performance and outlook, comparing 2011, 2012 and forecasts for 2013, we indicate the latest statistics from the Fiscal Policy Office of the Ministry of Finance. For the key indicator of GDP the Fiscal Policy Office indicates growth of 0.1 percent in 2011, 5.8 per cent for 2012. Their forecast for 2013 is five percent with a range of 4.5 to 5.5 percent - in line with most forecasts.

Source: Fiscal Policy Office, Ministry of Finance

The main economic driving force in 2013 will be expansion of public investment, with some impact from improvement of the global economy. Private domestic demand is likely to ease off from 2012 levels, which had

been stimulated by populist policies. However, the rise in minimum wages and rice pledging spending will cushion any sharp decline and inflation is forecast to hold at three percent.

Thailand Statistical Update 2012 Item













Production Indicators Agricultural Production Index (y-on-y %)













Manufacturing Production Index (y-on-y %)













Industrial Capacity Utilisation (%)













Key domestic product sales Electricity (KWH bn.)













Benzene/gasohol (mn. litres)













Beer (mn. litres)













Soda / soft drinks (mn. litres)













Passenger cars (000 units)













Motorcycles (000 units)













Commercial vehicles (000 units)













Cement (mn. metric tonnes)













Passenger cars (y-on-y %)













Motorcycles (y-on-y %)













Commercial vehicles (y-on-y %)

























Cement (y-on-y %) Producer / Consumer Price Indicators Producer Price Index













Change (m-on-m %)













Change (y-on-y %)





































Construction Materials Price Index Change (m-on-m %)


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Item Change (y-on-y %) Consumer Price Index (headline) (2007 = 100) Change (m-on-m %) Change (y-on-y %) Core Inflation (2007 = 100) Change (m-on-m %) Change (y-on-y %)























Jan 4.6








































































2.8 99.6

Consumption & Confidence Indicators Industrial Confidence Index












Business Sentiment Index













Private Consumption Index













Private Investment Index

























Benzene 91 (Baht per litre)













Diesel (Baht/litre)













Manufactured products (Baht bn.)













Agricultural products (Baht bn.)













Total exports (Baht bn.)













Total exports (y-on-y %)













Consumer Confidence Index Fuel Prices

Foreign Trade of Thailand: exports

Foreign Trade of Thailand: imports Consumer goods (Baht bn.)













Raw materials (Baht bn.)













Capital goods (Baht bn.)













Other Imports (Baht bn.)













Total Imports (Baht bn.)













Total Imports (y-on-y %)












-4.2 1,236

Tourism Indicators Suvarnabhumi Arrivals (000 persons)












Change (y-on-y %)













Nationwide Arrivals (000 persons)













Change (y-on-y %)













Hotel Occupancy Rate (%)













Commercial Banking Indicators Loans (Baht billion)













Deposits (Baht billion)












8,038.5 1,083.97

Stock Exchange and Foreign Investment indicators SET Index (1975 = 100)












Market Capitalisation (bn. Baht)













Foreign Purchase (bn. Baht)













Foreign Sale (bn. Baht)













Foreign Direct Investment (net, bn. Baht)













Foreign Portfolio Investment (net, bn. Baht)













Board of Investment indicators Applications (Baht bn.)













Approvals (Baht bn.)













Certificates (Baht bn.)













International monetary indicators US$ / Baht (mid-rate)













ÂŁ / Baht (mid-rate)













Euro / Baht (mid-rate)













Japan (100) Yen / Baht (mid-rate)













Exports (f.o.b. US$ billion)













Imports (f.o.b. US$ billion)













Trade balance (US$ mn)













Current account balance ( US$ mn)













Balance of payments ( US$ mn.)













Foreign currency reserves ( US$ bn.)













Statistical sources: these statistics have been derived from the following official sources: Bank of Thailand, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Finance (Department of Customs, Fiscal Policy Office), Ministry of Industry, Board of Investment, Immigration Department, Stock Exchange of Thailand. The above statistics represent the principal economic indicators for Thailand, but the original sources provide much more extensive and detailed coverage of different aspects of the economy. Statistics as presented are, in most cases, provisional figures, which will be adjusted at a later date when final returns are available from the respective sources. While best efforts have been made to ensure accuracy, readers are referred to original sources for definitive statistics. Note: month-by-month figures are updated as adjustments are made in the original statistical sources

The Brief

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Quarterly Statistics Item External sector - Dubai crude oil price (US$ / Barrel) /7 - Fed funds rate (%) / 7













105.6 0-0.25

100.3 0-0.25

110.3 0-0.25

106.7 0-0.25

104.9 0-0.25

109.1 0-0.25

106.7 0-0.25

106.1 0-0.25

107.5 0-0.25

109.1 0-0.25

1895.2 8.2 2008.4 11.0 814.5 20.3 590.1 14.8 2069.3 7.1 2069.3 7.1 1668.1 3.5 268.5 55.4 132.8 -9.4 -168.6

393.8 17.0 426.7 13.6 128.7 14.9 139.8 12.7 560.8 16.1 517.1 19.4 410.4 12.1 106.7 59.6 43.7 -12.4 -176.7

597.5 8.8 626.4 19.3 280.8 32.7 156.6 22.9 538.7 33.0 521.6 38.0 471.0 35.5 50.5 67.0 17.2 -36.6 73.1

505.4 7.3 566.1 10.9 284.3 19.9 148.1 14.4 480.0 7.8 458.5 9.0 385.4 1.8 73.1 72.4 21.5 -12.8 21.0

398.5 0.7 389.2 -2.5 120.8 3.6 145.5 9.3 489.8 -18.1 439.4 -20.6 401.2 -22.9 38.1 14.8 50.5 12.0 -84.8

412.8 4.8 449.9 5.4 140.9 9.5 161.1 15.2 779.5 39.0 731.6 41.5 649.8 58.3 81.7 -23.4 47.9 9.8 -372.4

620.8 3.9 663.5 5.9 278.4 -0.8 170.0 8.5 459.9 -14.6 435.7 -16.5 376.2 -20.1 59.5 17.7 24.2 40.7 169.4

543.5 7.5 613.3 8.3 270.6 -4.8 183.2 23.7 566.1 17.9 541.8 18.2 445.8 15.7 96.1 31.4 24.3 13.1 -26.9

504.6 26.6 496.2 27.5 150.7 24.7 177.7 22.1 785.9 60.5 699.8 59.3 641.4 59.8 58.4 53.2 86.1 70.7 -286.7

2,081.8 9.8 2,222.9 10.7 840.7 3.2 692.0 17.3 2,591.4 25.2 2,408.9 24.4 2,113.2 26.7 295.7 10.1 182.5 37.5 -516.6

7.4 13.2 11.4 2.4

11.1 25.5 34.8 2.5

7.4 17.7 21.0 7.3

-0.8 7.7 1.6 -3.5

10.1 -0.6 3.8 0.2

4.1 -11.7 -11.5 2.5

5.6 -11.4 -8.5 5.2

14.7 -10.0 0.9 7.6

2.8 -5.7 -5.7 n.a.

6.1 -9.8 -6.2 4.3

-9.3 25.8 17.5 58.1 -0.4 101.2

-2.1 19.6 12.2 62.6 -0.3 107.7

-2.5 36.0 26.5 59.1 -3.4 107.4

1.8 32.4 22.6 64.5 4.0 99.5

-34.2 16.0 9.5 46.4 0.0 90.1

-6.8 -0.4 -4.9 62.6 3.6 100.9

-1.5 -2.6 -3.6 64.3 2.3 104.2

-11.0 -18.8 -17.2 65.4 1.9 97.1

44.0 -0.7 1.6 67.0 n.a. 95.7

2.5 -6.2 -6.4 65.2 3.5 99.5

19.2 20.7 0.9

5.3 14.0 -0.7

4.4 53.3 -0.6

4.9 31.1 3.7

4.5 -1.6 2.9

5.7 8.1 -1.1

4.9 9.8 -2.0

5.4 8.6 -5.3

6.3 39.3 n.a.

22.3 16.0 -2.3

11.7 14.5 4.6 7.9 69.8

10.5 22.2 60.3 11.3 71.9

19.3 12.8 0.3 18.7 71.3

10.6 15.2 22.9 13.0 73.5

6.6 8.8 -42.3 -12.7 62.3

12.0 2.9 -5.4 -0.6 65.3

6.3 -4.7 77.0 4.4 67.7

20.2 -8.5 78.6 0.4 68.4

18.2 8.8 268.7 24.8 69.4

14.1 -0.4 86.6 5.8 67.6

16.6 -4.4 12.5 4.3

29.3 31.7 17.6 1.5

14.5 3.1 9.0 -1.1

18.3 17.1 34.5 12.0

5.0 -53.4 -3.9 5.8

10.2 33.5 4.2 5.4

20.2 62.3 26.3 5.2

17.3 53.5 7.2 12.1

43.1 231.9 45.2 20.6

22.1 76.2 20.6 10.6

222.6 14.0 5.6 8.0 228.8 25.4 10.1 13.9 -6.2

55.4 26.3 6.7 17.0 54.2 26.9 8.9 17.4 1.2

56.5 16.8 7.0 8.6 57.3 28.6 11.5 15.8 -0.8

62.4 25.6 6.4 17.2 62.8 32.7 11.7 18.8 -0.3

48.3 -6.1 2.5 -9.8 54.5 12.8 8.3 4.2 -6.2

54.6 -1.4 1.1 -2.5 59.8 10.4 5.9 4.3 -5.2

57.6 2.0 0.4 1.6 62.6 9.2 1.6 7.4 -5.0

60.1 -3.8 -0.1 -3.7 61.7 -1.7 -0.5 -1.2 -1.6

57.2 18.5 1.0 17.3 63.5 16.4 -0.4 16.9 -6.3

229.5 3.1 0.6 2.5 247.6 8.2 1.6 6.5 -18.1

30.5 11.9 175.1 31.2

30.5 5.9 181.6 21.0

30.2 1.4 184.9 24.9

30.1 3.1 180.1 27.3

31.0 1.8 175.1 31.2

31.1 1.4 179.2 29.2

31.3 -2.3 174.7 30.7

31.3 2.7 183.6 24.8

30.7 n.a. 181.6 24.1

31.1 2.0 181.6 24.1

0.7 5.5 3.8 2.4

0.8 6.4 3.0 1.5

0.6 5.8 4.1 2.4

0.6 5.6 4.1 2.8

0.6 4.1 4.0 2.8

0.7 2.4 3.4 2.7

0.9 0.5 2.5 2.0

0.6 0.3 2.9 1.8

n.a. 0.9 3.2 2.1

0.7 1.0 3.0 2.1

Fiscal sector - Net government revenue (Billion baht) /1 (%y-o-y) /1 Tax collection from revenue.customs and excise dept. /12 (%y-o-y) /14 Income-based tax (Billion baht) / 1 (%y-o-y) / 1 Consumption-based tax (Billion baht) /1 (%y-o-y) / 1 - Government expenditure (Billion baht) /1 (%y-o-y) / 1 - Budget expenditure (Billion baht) /1 (%y-o-y) / 1 Current expenditure (Billion baht) /1 (%y-o-y) / 1 Capital expenditure (Billion baht) /1 (%y-o-y) / 1 - Carry-over budget (Billion baht) /1 (%y-o-y) / 1 - Budgetary Balance (Billion baht) /1 Supply-side indicators: Agricultural sector - Agricultural Production Index (%y-o-y) /6 - Agricultural Price Index (%y-o-y) /6 - Real farm income (y-o-y) /14 - New employment in agricultural sector (%y-o-y) /3 Industrial sector - Manufacturing Production Index (%y-o-y) /10 - Import value of raw materials in USD (%-y-o-y) /1 - Import volume of raw materials in USD (%y-o-y) /1 - Capacity utilization (%) /10 - New employment in industrial sector (%y-o-y) /3 - Thai Industrial sentiment Index (Index) /9 Service sector - No. of foreign tourists (Million persons) /11 (%y-o-y) /14 - New employment in service sector (%y-o-y) /3 Demand-side indicators: Private consumption indicators - Value added tax at constant price (%y-o-y) / 1 - Import volume of consumer goods in USD (%y-o-y) / 1 - Sales of passenger cars (%y-o-y) /14 - Sales of motorcycles (%y-o-y) /13 - Consumer Confidence Index (Index) /5 Private investment indicators - Import volume of capital goods in USD (%y-o-y) / 1 - Sales of commercial cars (%y-o-y) /14 - Total taxes collected from real estate transaction (%y-o-y) / 1 - Domestic cement sales (%y-o-y) /2 International trade Indicators - Export (Billion USD) : custom basis (%y-o-y) /4 - Export price (%y-o-y) /4 - Export volume (%y-o-y) /14 - Import (Billion USD) : custom basis (%y-o-y) /4 - Import price (%y-o-y) / 4 - Import volume (%y-o-y) /14 - Trade balance (Billion USD): custom basis /4 External economic stability - Average exchange rate (Baht / USD) /2 - Current account (Billion USD) /2 - International reserves (Billion USD) /2 - Net Forward Position (Billion USD) /2 International economic stability - Unemployment rate (%) /3 - Producer Price Index(%yoy) /4 - Headline inflation (%yoy) /4 - Core inflation (%yoy) /4

1/ 2/ 3/ 4/ 5/


Data from Ministry of Finance Data from Bank of Thailand Data from National Statistic office Data from Ministry of Commerce Data from University of Thai Chamber of Commerce

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6/ Data from Office of Agricultural Economics 7/ Data from Reuters 8/ Data from Tourism Authority of Thailand 9/ Data from Federation of Thai industries 10/ Data from Office of Industrial Economics

11/ Data from Immigration Office 12/ Data from Revenue Department, Excise Department and Customs Department 13/ Data from Department of Land transport 14/ Computed by FPO


Jack Bain It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Jack Bain. Jack passed away on 20th January 2013.. He died of natural causes at the age of 92. Jack Bain was son of Mr. William G. Bain who was once the manager of the Borneo Timber Logging Company. Jack himself spent a total of twenty two years with the Borneo Company Ltd., then worked for the Siam City Bank for nine years prior to his retirement. He was the founder of the Wat Kate Museum which houses artifacts and a gallery of photographs of old Chiang Mai that is unrivalled anywhere.

John Logan It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of John Logan Bangkok after a long battle with prostate cancer. John was born in Dundee in May 1941 and moved to Thailand in 1993. He was an original Executive Director (1972-1988) who established Swire Properties in Hong Kong and he had responsibility for finance, legal and corporate planning functions. At that time, Swire Group had a hotchpotch of both unused and underuti-

lised land in Hong Kong and elsewhere and John was key in helping to change Swire Properties into the major land and development player it is today. Pacific Place in Hong Kong was John’s signature project and he was also instrumental in setting up Swire properties in Miami and the USA. He lived in Florida for a while. He left Swire Properties in 1988 to return to Scotland but was back in Hong Kong by 1990 working with the KK Yeung Group.

Photo to be scanned in high resolution mode at color separation process. Will appear at color proof stage

John came to Thailand and was still a go-to guy with respect to major property infrastructure and residential development. He joined Golden Land in 1999 as Director and Chief Financial Officer until he left in 2004.

Britain in South East Asia (BiSEA) Cambodia British Business Association of Cambodia c/o Top Recruitment Cambodia 592, Building F, Phnom Penh Centre Corner Sothearos & Sihanouk Boulevards, Phnom Penh, Cambodia Tel: 855-23-997-492 Fax: 855-23-997-493 Email: Website: Chairman: Tom Sterling Committee Secretary: Kevin Britten Indonesia British Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia Wisma Metropolitan 1, 15th Floor, Jl. Jend, Sudirman Kav 29-31 Jakarta, Indonesia 12920 Tel: 62-21-522-9453 Fax: 62-21-527-9135 Email: Website: Chairman: Haslam Preeston Executive Director: Chris Wren Malaysia British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce E04C1, 4th Floor East Block Wisma Selangor Dredging, 142-B Jalan Ampang 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tel: 603-2163-1784 /1786 Fax: 603-2163-1781 Email: Website: Chairman: Dato Larry Gan Director, Business Development: Molly Jagpal Philippines British Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines c/o The British Embassy Manila 120 Upper McKinley Road McKinley Hill, Taguig City 1634 Metro Manila, Philippines Tel: 632-858-2255/858-2372/858-2373 Fax: 632-858-2390 Email: Website: Chairman: Keith Perrin Executive Director: Alison Doig Henderson Singapore British Chamber of Commerce in Singapore 138 Cecil Street, #11-01 Cecil Court Singapore 069538 Tel: 65-6222-3552 Fax: 65-6222-3556 Email: Website: President: Mr. Steve Puckett Executive Director: Brigitte Holtschneider

Thailand British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (BCCT) 7th Floor, 208 Wireless Road, Lumpini Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 Tel: 66-2651-5350-3 Fax: 66-2651-5354 Email: Website: Chairman: Simon Landy Executive Director: Greg Watkins Vietnam British Business Group Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City G/F 25 Le Duan Blvd, District 1 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Tel: 84-8-3829-8430 Fax: 84-8-3822-5172 Email: Website: Hanoi 67 Le Van Huu, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi, Vietnam Tel: 84 4 6674 0945 Chairman: Patrick Regis Executive Director: Jakki Lydall The Brief

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British Chamber of Commerce Thailand

Profiles of bcct Board of Directors 2013 Simon has been a resident of Thailand since 1981. He co-founded Colliers Thailand, an international property consultancy and brokerage in 2007 and he is currently Executive Chairman. The Bangkok-based firm has become a leading player in the market with 180 staff and branches in Pattaya and Hua Hin. Simon has held a number of professional roles in the Thai and international property market, including past chairman of RICS Thailand and member of RICS Asia Pacific. He is a member of the UK-based International Valuation Standards Board (the global standard-setter for business and property valuation) and the Thai SEC sub-committee on property fund regulation. As the re-appointed Chairman for 2013, Simon intends to develop the policies adopted under his chairmanship by the 2012 board, namely: Chairman a. providing members with relevant and timely events and information, especially in Simon Landy relation to expected and unexpected political and economic developments; Executive Chairman, b. promoting BCCT’s advocacy role both as an independent body and in collaboration Colliers International with the rest of the business community, such as promoting specific legal reforms Thailand and minimising red tape; and c. ensuring sustainable financial health for BCCT. In addition, BCCT needs to take a strong position to support new UKTI initiatives that envisage an expanded role for the Chamber.

Boyd has worked for GSK Thailand, a well-respected leader of the Thai pharmaceutical industry since 2010, and has been actively involved as a key contributor to several public and non-profit organisations through GSK Global policy’s ‘Access to Medicine’ framework, aiming to increase access to quality, innovative medicines and vaccines for all people including those at the lower end of the economic spectrum.

Vice Chairman Boyd Chongphaisal General Manager, GlaxoSmithKline (Thailand) Ltd

Prior to joining GSK, Boyd has experience in fast moving consumer goods, consumer healthcare and pharmaceuticals. He held a variety of commercial roles and was based in the US and in China before moving back to Thailand. He is a member of Board of Directors of the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers Association (PReMA) and member of the Institute of Directors of Thailand.


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Simon has worked in Thailand for the past 19 years and is currently the Country Manager of Manpower. He was responsible for the start up of Manpower Thailand in 1998 and currently the business has over 9,500 associates supported by over 220 permanent staff in 10 locations across Thailand.

Vice Chairman Simon Matthews Country Manager, ManpowerGroup Thailand

Simon plans to continue his involvement in the committees, to contribute to achieving the BCCT short and long range goals and objectives and to ensure that BCCT members are regularly advised on developments related to Employment, Labour and Immigration issues that can affect their interests.

After thirty six years with KPMG John Sim retired from the firm in June 2012. Since then he has worked with PKF International, the 11th largest accounting network in the world, to build a member firm in Thailand and to refocus their Asean and Asia Pacific operations. He is also a Trustee of the Adam Smith Global Foundation. John took over as treasurer of the BCCT in the middle of 2010 and has held that position since then. Significant progress was made during 2011 in cleaning up the past, stemming losses; implementing a new in-house accounting system and moving the Chamber to a surplus position. In 2012 the clean-up process continued under John’s direction with long outstanding debts being collected and a number of functions previously outsourced being brought in house, including production of The Brief. This has truly been a team effort with the Chamber staff and the Chairman doing most of the work. The next phase of the accounting project will focus upon improving efficiency so as to reduce time spent by both the Chamber staff and members on administrative processes related to the Chamber’s finances.

Chris moved to Thailand to run a World Bank Education project working for the Government of Thailand and Mott McDonald. Previously, he was a Head Teacher in the UK for 20 years and became the President of the National Association of Head Teachers in 1999. He is now the Chairman of Anglo Thai Legal.

Vice Chairman Chris Thatcher Group Chairman, Anglo-Thai Legal Co., Ltd.

Chris believes very strongly that the BCCT is a membership organisation that exists primarily for the benefit of its members. The BCCT Membership group has attempted over the last year to examine in some detail, the wishes of the members and to bring these to the attention of the Board. In April 2012 Chris chaired a membership feedback meeting and many of the key outputs from this session have already been actioned. This process will be ongoing through 2013.

Gary joined the Hong Kong law firm of Johnson Stokes & Master in 1986 and moved to Bangkok in 1991 to establish JSM’s Thailand practice. Director In June 2011 he retired Gary Biesty from JSM and estabAuthorised lished South Asia Law Director, South Co., Ltd. He has since Asia Law Co. Ltd. established South Asia Law Myanmar and he has served as Honorary Consul for Ireland in Thailand since 2001. Gary has served most recent as Chairman of the BCCT Myanmar Group and as a member of the BCCT Legal & Tax Group.

Joe is the Managing Director of a Crestcom International franchise in Thailand – a management training company that delivers a one year course helping companies in both Bangkok and the Eastern Seaboard to develop and get the best out of the managers and people they employ. Prior to joining Crestcom, Joe was an international manager, specialising in retail banking, at HSBC. He worked in Bangkok from 1993 – 1995 and returned to Thailand in 2005.

Vice Chairman & Treasurer John Sim

Director Joe BarkerBennett Authorised Director, Crestcom International Ltd

Joe has been part of the BCCT Management Development and HR Group for some four years and has organised and moderated a number of panel events for the MDG Group in Bangkok and ESB. He is Chair of the Eastern Seaboard Group.

David has been in Thailand for the past 10 years and spent the last four years as General Manager of the Amari Orchid Pattaya. David has recently taken up the role of VP -Operations Development for The Onyx Hospitality Group. While being in the tourism sector and a regular attendee of such trade shows as World Travel Market in the UK, David is promoting Thailand to travel agents or corporate business in a bid to further enhance the destination. David hopes to see the Tourism committee re-established and its efforts channelled to meeting the needs of this ever-growing sector.

Director David Cumming Vice President, Operations Development, The Onyx Hospitality Group

David headed the BCCT Eastern Seaboard Group in 2012, running and speaking at various events throughout the year including panel discussions, networking events and other functions.

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Stephen has lived and worked in Thailand for 20 years. He is a director of Bangkok International Associates, an independent law firm employing 11 lawyers and support staff. Stephen specialises in corporate and commercial law, joint ventures, company takeovers, banking, employment and property and other areas of interest to BCCT members. Stephen edits the BIA Thailand Legal Guide which is published on the BCCT website. This is a 100,000 word English language guide to Thai laws that affect foreign investors.

Director Stephen Frost Director, Bangkok International Associates Ltd.

In 2012 Stephen served as Chairman of the BCCT Legal & Taxation Group and he also advised the BCCT Board in relation to the drafting of proposed changes to the Constitution. He is also a member of the BCCT Property and Infrastructure, and Events Groups, and the EABC Advocacy Working Group.

Rituraj is a qualified pharmacist and British national recently appointed as Managing Director of Boots in Thailand. He has worked for the company for over 27 years and has have extensive operational and commercial experience in retailing. Rituraj plans to bring his experience of working for a large international business to the Board in terms of professional approach to management and also corporate governance. He will be pleased to members establishing businesses in Thailand – particularly in the healthcare field with Government advocacy.

Director Rituraj Mohan Managing Director , Boots Retail (Thailand) Ltd. (Alliance Boots)

Director Siew Meng Tan Chief Executive Officer, Hsbc

In addition, HSBC sponsored key BCCT events throughout 2012 such as the luncheon and dinner talk by the Governor of the Bank of Thailand, the business leader dinner, the Networking event, Ploenchit Fair, the BCCT Christmas luncheon - and intends to continue doing so in 2013. HSBC was one of the first companies to join the BCCT on its establishment in 1946.


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Director Andrew Mcbean Partner, Grant Thornton

Andrew has served as a member of the Membership Committee, ICT Committee (ICT Board Proposal, Security Seminar and Google-Microsoft-Apple Seminar), the Northern Thailand initiative, the British Council/Embassy initiative and, latterly, the anticorruption initiative.

Sriram Narayan (Sri) is British Airways Manager for Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. He has been with British Airways (BA) for 23 years with experience in commercial/operational roles and moved to Thailand in December 2011. Prior to this role he was the Commercial Development and Deputy Commercial Manager for British Airways in South Asia based at Mumbai in India.

Rituraj acted as interim Managing Director of Boots Thailand in 2011 and sat on the Board during that period. Siew Meng Tan was appointed Chief Executive Officer of HSBC Thailand in January 2013. She joined HSBC in 2004, working in Singapore and Mauritius and has over 25 years of banking experience. HSBC has been an annual sponsor of BCCT since 2007 and will do so again in 2013.

Andrew was posted to Thailand by Microsoft in 2003 as Managing Director. He moved to dtac as a Senior Vice President to build the company’s Business Division and then running the dtac 3G trial programme. After that he joined Grant Thornton as a Partner where he is responsible for Business Development and Marketing. He is a Permanent Resident of Thailand.

Director Sriram Narayan Manager Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, British Airways Plc.

He plans to assist the work of the BCCT through contributions in the fields of travel, aviation and tourism and hopes to see the revival of the Travel and Tourism Group.

Thana Thiramanus joined Property Care Services (Thailand) Ltd. (PCS) in 2011 as Managing Director. As a part of OCS group-UK, PCS has 45 years experiences in Thailand with 24,000 employees in 15 branches nationwide. PCS specialises in outsourced services from single service contracts to complex total facilities management solutions.

Director Thana Thiramanus Managing Director, Property Care Services (Thailand) Ltd

Thana plans to help to maintain and enhance the role of the BCCT as a business organisation, provide benefits to its members and to serve more as a forum for business matching. Whilst expanding all aspects of business interests, his objective is also to encourage the support a wider range of sustainable community initiatives in Thailand. He has pledged to ensure that BCCT members are regularly advised on developments related to Employment, Labour and Total Facilities Management trend that can affect their interests.

Chairman’s Report to BCCT Annual General Meeting

British Ambassador Mark Kent (centre) with the 2013 BCCT Board of Directors


f 2011 saw the Chamber returning to financial health after a couple of very challenging years, the 2012 Board was able to consolidate this position and bring in an operating surplus that was significantly higher than the budget. This achievement owes much to the groundwork set under the 2011 leadership of Graham Macdonald and the rigorous efforts of Treasurer John Sim and the hard work of the Chamber staff. Under Greg Watkins’ leadership, BCCT’s small full-time team gets through a tremendous amount of work, which is reflected in not only the improved financials but also the quantity and quality of events and other activities.

I’d also like to thank the Board members for their strong support and inputs; in particular, those who have either stood down during the year or are unable to stand for re-election: Toni Weber, Jane Bailey, Colin Hastings, Richard Greaves, Matt Lobner and Dean Thompson. The Board has also had strong support from the Embassy and UKTI, especially from our previous Ambassador Asif Ahmad and our new Ambassador Mark Kent who will be addressing our lunch after the AGM. The Board started 2012 with three key missions: • To develop an advocacy strategy based on members’ needs • To deliver events based on members’ needs and financial

needs of the Chamber • To consider structural changes to improve the provision of services A prime objective was to get feedback from members, and the focus groups held in April were key to this. We had some 80 member firms represented at the event and managed to elicit a range of views that was fed into the work programme for the year. The event and subsequent analysis was handled by a new Membership Group under Chris Thatcher. As a result, all feedback points have been addressed, although some are still a work in progress. Advocacy has followed a mix of direct lobbying and joining forces with likeminded groups:

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Ambassador Mark Kent was the keynote speaker at the 2013 AGM.

• Members’ feedback stressed the continuing importance of visa and work permit issues, the Foreign Business Act and property ownership as key issues where the Chamber may be able to help. BCCT raised the first of these in a meeting with the Prime Minister and the Duke and York. As a result of this, a dialogue has been established with the Immigration Commissioner who has a team looking at the issues we have raised • UK members also raised the inconvenience of the UK passport renewal system. This has been raised in a joint lobbying effort with other chambers in Asia, and is an issue we have continued to address in meetings with the UK Border Agency and other relevant parties. The improved response times are a positive outcome of this effort 58

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• More broad-based lobbying has been undertaken by actively supporting the new EABC. Our Treasurer, John Sim, is also Treasurer of EABC, member firms lead many of EABC’s advocacy groups and our Executive Director, Greg Watkins, in regular dialogue with other chamber and the EABC directive. The main output to date has been a white paper outlining a wide range of recommendations for government action in all sectors • In addition, BCCT has permanent representation on the Board of Trade, has participated in such events as the first British mission to Myanmar, the Thai Prime Minister’s delegation to the UK, various UKTI meetings and events in the UK and Thailand, co-hosting with Foreign Secretary William Hague the signing of anti-corruption pledges by British

businesses, various meetings with Thai and British government ministers, including two Deputy Prime Ministers and the Bank of Thailand Governor, and now involvement with the new BOI policy changes. In fact, I have to apologise for leaving today’s lunch early so as to attend a chambers meeting with the Minister of Industry on this topic • Structurally, we have set up a new Advocacy Group comprising the BCCT officers to set strategy and direction and a new Legal & Tax Group under Stephen Frost to look at policies and advise our members • In Q4 of 2012, BCCT put together a detailed business plan for 2013 that will help with continuity of policy, giving the new Board the ability to hit the ground running • Related to our advocacy efforts is the Chamber’s involvement in charity work AN CSR. Under Matt Lobner’s leadership, the CSR Group developed a strategy for CSR activities and helped coordinate BCCT’s small budget on various education-related causes, as well as its continued support for the British Community in Thailand Foundation for the Needy (BCTFN), Thailand Business Coalition on AIDS (TBCA) and Child Protection (CEOPS/British Government) Events continue to be the lifeblood of the Chamber and the principal form of interaction for the membership: • Members’ feedback was diverse in this area. Some ideas picked up and implemented include a wider range of sector specific events, more effort by the Board to introduce new members – a work in progress – and more variety in event formats, including free Boardroom Briefings at the chamber office • BCCT and the Events Group under Simon Matthews successfully organised the core events that are important to the financial health of the Chamber: the Annual Lecture by Dr Surin, the Masters Football Tournament and Dinner and the Christmas Lunch. Several other high profile events

were well received, not least the Life & Style Party at the Embassy and the Olympics Games Opening Ceremony at the Hyatt Erawan. Overall, the Chamber organised 93 events in the year, an impressive increase over 81 in 2011, especially in view of the staffing challenges last year BCCT and many of our groups were active in organising other informational and training events that have been well received – the CSR Group, Eastern Seaboard Group, ICT Group, Management Development Group, Professional Women’s Group, Property & Infrastructure Group and SME Group have all been active in this Networking and social events have continued to be popular, especially the Third Thursday events and the regular ESB events hosted with other chambers Prominent speakers from the UK and Thai political scene are regularly invited to give major addresses. Last year, these included Lord Green, Lord Powell, Lord Marland and the Lord Mayor of London from the UK and the Minister of Industry, a former Deputy Prime Minister and head of the Thai Rak Thai Party and Dr Surin from Thailand Most of the members’ feedback issues have been addressed, although some more completely than others. One objective not yet completed is to put together a master schedule for events throughout the year, but with a renewed push in recent weeks we hope that this will be in place in the first quarter of this year

Structurally, we have looked at both the operational and policy levels: • Members brought up the need to encourage more diversity in Board membership. This year’s Board started with 2 women, but unfortunately ends with none. We hope this will change in 2013, and to have more Thai directors • The constitutional amendment proposals being put to the AGM are to ensure continuity and encourage more people to stand for the Board

• A Policy Group under Dean Thompson was set up to handle the nitty-gritty procedural issues • Members outside Bangkok received additional attention through Chris Thatcher and Andrew McBean’s co-ordination with a newly-formed British business group in Chiang Mai, Greg Watkins’ continued work with the British Business Association Phuket (BBAP) and David Cummins’ taking over our well-established ESB Group. In addition a new Myanmar Group under Gary Biesty was established to help coordinate members’ interest in this fast-moving opportunity Communications has seen some good progress in the year under the Communications/PR Group led by Gareth Marshall and Colin Hastings. • Members have responded very positively to the improved content of The Brief. The Chamber is striving to translate this positive response into improved advertising revenues • Handbook revenues have been strong, and that publication remains an essential tool for many members • BCCT launched a weekly email newsletter to keep members up to date on forthcoming BCCT activities and other events, latest reports added to the website, member discount offers and other news ª The website and use of social media remain a work in progress. The website has been redesigned to make it more engaging, and this should be launched early in 2013 New initiatives that could become important in the coming year include a number of topics raised by members:

Continual improvements to the services offered to members and communications to members in order to help them develop their businesses • Developing BCCT’s Headstart programme for new British investors into a more far-reaching

• •

programme to develop UK-Thai business Putting in place guidelines and strategy on how best to use the surplus funds on deposit to best serve our members’ needs Developing relations with Thai graduates of UK universities and helping match these graduates with BCCT member companies for permanent employment or internships Implementing a new member orientation programme Establishing a more concrete CSR policy and exploring whether some of our SME members would be interested in the Chamber organising CSR activities on their behalf

The Board and the BCCT staff have had a busy, successful and interesting year and would like to encourage more members to get involved in whatever way they can to make sure the Chamber remains relevant to your interests and responsive to your needs. Eastern Seaboard group 1. Committee in 2012 was: David Cumming, Alain Deurwaerder, Joe Barker-Bennett, Andrew Harrison, John Hamilton, Dr Iain Corness, Stephen Tierney and Pratheep Malhorta 2. Four BCCT Eastern Seaboard Group meetings were held in 2012, chaired by David Cumming and the minutes recorded 3. Currently 56 members of the BBCT on the Eastern Seaboard with a further 7 Bangkok companies having provincial offices in the area 4. 12 Monthly Networking events where held on the Eastern Seaboard all in conjunction with AMCHAM and AUSTCHAM. The December event was an all chamber event with over 120 persons attending 5. 12 Eastern Seaboard Group monthly Reports highlighting the development of the region were posted on the BCCT website 6. In February a panel discussion event was held focusing on How The Brief

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to retain good people. Presentations were by AON Hewitt Thailand, Trevor Negus of Ford, David Cumming of Amari and Matt Horris of Acushnet. 43 persons attended 7. In May, a dinner was held with the Mayor of Pattaya, Khun Ittiphol focusing on his vision and plans for the city (prior to the Mayor election) 8. In July, the British Ambassador, H.E. Asif Ahmad was welcomed to the Eastern Seaboard for a day of field trips followed by a dinner with local business leaders. 55 persons were in attendance 9. Two other scheduled events, one on Coral conservation project and another on Water recycling were cancelled due to lack of potential attendance 10. The chairman of the Eastern Seaboard group David Cumming met with the Mayor on two occasions to discuss the development of the city, plans for tourism and the MICE market. A follow up quarterly meeting is planned for 2013 11. The Eastern Seaboard Group held a stand at the Jester Care for Kids in September, which was sadly due to the weather a very wet occasion 12. The BCCT Eastern Seaboard also supported the Jesters Care for Kids Dinner 13. Plans have been put in place for a series of Panel discussions starting early in 2012 with the first on ‘How to retain good people’ and the second on ‘New Educational developments’. Various panel members are being sought 14. The Eastern Seaboard Group attended a number of Bangkok events throughout the year and will continue to do so in 2013 15. In December, as present chairperson David Cumming will relocate to Bangkok, Joe BarkerBennett was elected as Chairman for 2013 of the ESB Group Eastern Seaboard Groups plans for 2013 include: • Continued joint networking events with AMCHAM and AUSTCHAM 60

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• Addition of speakers prior to Eastern Seaboard networking evening • Training courses on the Eastern Seaboard in conjunction with the BCCT management development group • A members night to ascertain feedback on how the BCCT on the Eastern Seaboard can better serve them • Invitation to a senior UK Minister to visit the Eastern Seaboard if in Thailand • Dinner with the local Mayor, Chonburi governor or another senior Thai official • Dinner with the British Ambassador • A minimum of two business events to be held – panel, boardroom discussions etc • Support of the Jesters Fair for Kids

• To support the development of leadership capacity for Thailand’s future leaders • To provide support and service to develop Thailand’s basic educational needs (basic skills, skills based curriculum, vocational training, new technologies etc.) • Promotion of UK Inc (Educational services and products) • Linkage into the UK educational network In 2013 it is intended to further these areas more specifically by holding some membership meetings and by engaging with those outside the Chamber with specific interests that fit the areas above. If you are interested in joining, please register your interest with Greg at the Chamber. ICT

Education In late 2012, following a 2 year gap, the BCCT revived the Education Group. Following two meetings, the terms of reference were agreed as being:

The BCCT-ICT Group held two events in 2012. The first was held on 21st May and was entitled “Danger – your security is at risk”. This interesting meeting was followed up by a BCCT-ICT Heads Up email to bring members up-to-date with the

very latest information on threats and potential solutions to try and mitigate the risks of security breaches. This was then further followed up by an article in The Brief. The second event was jointly held with AusCham and AmCham on Thursday 19th November and was entitled “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms – Apple, Google and Microsoft: the next five years”. This event was very well attended to the point of standing room only and was a great success with the speakers staying until close to 10pm. Our ICT Group member Robert Marchant launched an initiative and prepared a paper for the BCCT board on the promotion of British Industry in Thailand. It was felt that currently the approach of British Companies in Thailand is very much one of responding to Government and Business Tenders and it was believed that this effort could be much more pro-active in conjunction with UK Trade and Industry. It is planned to hold a meeting with the appropriate British Embassy personnel once the new Ambassador has settled in and this ICT-Group project is currently in progress. Our plans for 2013 include events that will tackle the development in convergent commerce and the impact of social media on business. We also want to encourage new members to join the ICT Group and intend to hold an “IT professionals ‘meet and greet’ evening soon. Legal & Taxation The Legal & Taxation Group was founded in April 2012 under the Chairmanship of Stephen Frost. The purpose of the committee is to discuss changes to the laws and taxation rules of Thailand insofar as they affect BCCT members, to press for changes where these rules are inconvenient or an impediment to the flow of investment or practical operation of business, and to organise events that are relevant to these aims.

During 2012, three events were organised, the first on taxation, the second specifically on residence permits, and the third on visas and work permits in general. The speakers were lawyers and accountants with long expertise in these areas. The Q and A sessions at these events were particularly lively in highlighting issues of concern, which can then be taken up by BCCT with the ministry or government department concerned.

Professional Women’s

The Committee also advised the BCCT Board with regard to intended changes to the BCCT Constitution and other matters as and when required.”

In 2012 we hosted five events including a ‘Speed Networking’ event, a ‘Women Entrepreneurs’ evening, ‘Scent of a Woman’, ‘Incredible India’ and ‘Women Drinking Responsibly.’ We very much appreciated the support of our sponsors including Samitivej Hospital, Bangkok Patana School, Shrewsbury International School, Worldwide Relocations and Diageo Moet Hennessy.

Membership Set up in 2012, the purpose of the group is to give members a more direct way to express opinions about the Chamber and to provide feedback. In April a round table meeting was held for members and various issues were highlighted as a result. Particularly highlighted were Communications with members, Events and how they could be improved, Membership fees, the membership “value” proposition, Regional Development, relationships with the Embassy, Business Introductions, what we can learn from other Chambers, Finance Group/Committee and BCCT Thai Alumni. The Board received a report and various groups discussed the feedback as well and as a result many of the issues raised have been addressed in various ways. Change is relative and some of the changes will take some time to implement, some are simply impossible in the short-term and some are very easy. Members will notice gradual changes – some more apparent than others. The work will continue in 2013 with a particular focus on the Eastern Seaboard. As always, members can send further thoughts or comments to Greg at BCCT.

The Professional Women’s Group’s objective is to host events to inform, inspire and connect our female (and quite a few male) chamber members. We work collaboratively with other Chambers such as AustCham and NZTCC to achieve these objectives. Our yearly programme typically includes topics covering women in business and social networking events.

SME The most recent SME event with guest speaker Dr Wimonkan Kusumas, Deputy Director, Office of Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion – OSMEP showed very clearly that there is a gap in what is considered to be a Small Enterprise and many of the companies in membership of the BCCT who might be termed a Micro Enterprise. The focus for 2013 will therefore be to research the ways that the BCCT can better support these smaller companies. There is also some indication that events focusing upon specific sectors might be helpful. Food and Beverage, Travel, Financial and Legal are to some extent already covered by other groups within BCCT and the nature of the SME Group is not to focus upon specific sectors but to cover the whole range of generic issues faced by the SME Community. This will become the 2013 focus. As ever, the group w‑elcomes involvement from any interested parties in taking this agenda forward.

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Chamber Events

Chamber Events Ploenchit Fair 24 November 2012 Ploenchit Fair came back to Bangkok Patana School on 24th November. Khun Abhisit Vejjajiva kindly opened the fair again this year. The event was enjoyed by all and the Grand Raffle prizes were as extravagant as ever, with holidays to London and other destinations. The British Community came together once more to help those Thailand less fortunate than themselves and everyone had a smile on their face for visiting this charitable fair.


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Chamber Events

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Chamber Events

BCCT P&I Evening Presentation (Dawei Seaport & Industrial Estate) 9 November 2012 On 9th November Dr. Somchet Thinaphong, Managing Director, Dawei Development Co., Ltd. gave an update on the Dawei Industrial Estate and Deep Sea Port at Eastin Grand Sathorn Hotel Bangkok. The event was sponsored by Halcrow (Thailand) Limited and Aurecon Consulting (Thailand) Co., Ltd.

02 02 - The event was well attended by BCCT members.

01 01 - Dr. Somchet Thinaphong, Dawei Development Co. Ltd

Third Thursday Networking Evening 15 November 2012 On 15th November Sofitel So Bangkok kindly sponsored the T3- Third Thursday Networking Evening at Mixo Bar.

01 01 (from left to right) - Boyd Chongphaisal, GSK/BCCT Board Director - Greg Watkins, BCCT - Gregory Phillippe, Sofitel So Bangkok - Simon Matthews, ManpowerGroup Thailand/BCCT Vice Chairman

02 02 (from left to right) - Rungnapha Kaewduangsri, Santa Fe - Katherine Aphaivongs, CIGNA Insurance Public Company Limited - Nannapat Sriwalai, Grant Thornton

Thank you to our sponsors and partners.


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Chamber Events

Joint BCCT/AMCHAM/AustCham Eastern Seaboard Networking Evening 16 November 2012 BCCT joined hands with AustCham and AMCHAM to organise the Joint BCCT/AustCham/AMCHAM Eastern Seaboard Networking Evening on 16th November at Nova Platinum Hotel Pattaya. The event was sponsored by CEA, CES and Nova Platinum Hotel Pattaya.

01 01 (from left to right) - Michael Parham, CEA&CES - Natchanan Dechaakhrawanit, Allied Pickfords - Alex Hutton, Simplicity - Joe Cox, Defence International Security Services.

02 02 - Nova Plattinum team

Joint BCCT/AMCHAM P&I Breakfast Briefing 20 November 2012 Dr. Chula Sukmanop, Director General of The Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP), Ali Adam, Halcrow Group and Abigail Evans, Meinhardt were speakers at the Joint BCCT/AMCHAM P&I Breakfast Briefing on Tuesday 20th November on the topic of ‘The Urban Transport Infrastructure Plans – Is Bangkok moving forward?” at Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park.

01 01 (from left to right) - Dr. Chula Sukmanop, The Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) - Ali Adam, Halcrow Group - Abigail Evans, Meinhardt

02 02 - The event was well attended by BCCT & AMCHAM members

Thank you to our sponsors and partners.

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Chamber Events

BCCT Chiang Mai Evening Reception (British Ambassador) 26 November 2012 On 26th November Boots Retail (Thailand) Ltd., Citibank and Century 21 Lanna kindly sponsored the BCCT Chiang Mai Evening Reception with British Ambassador Mark Kent as guest speaker at the Shangri-La Chiang Mai.

01 01 (from left to right) - Dean Thompson, Boots Retails (Thailand) Ltd - Darren Buckley, Citibank - Mark Kent, British Ambassador - Simon Landy, Colliers/BCCT Chairman - Ed Schroeder, Century 21 Lanna

02 02 - Guests listening to the speech at the Shangri-La Chiang Mai

BCCT Boardroom Briefing (Visas and Work Permits) 28 November 2012 On 28th November BCCT Legal and Taxation Group organised a BCCT Boardroom Briefing on ‘Visas and Work Permits – What is involved in obtaining and renewing them?’

01 01 Stephen Frost, BCCT Legal and Taxation Chairman (left) presenting a gift to speaker Khun Pramote Srisamai, Price Sanond Prabhas & Wynne Ltd.

02 02 (from left to right) - Andrew Wynne, Price Sanond Prabhas & Wynne Ltd - Pramote Srisamai, Price Sanond Prabhas & Wynne Ltd - Chris Thatcher, Anglo-Thai Legal Co., Ltd/BCCT Board Director - Stephen Frost, Bangkok International Associates Ltd/BCCT Board Director

Thank you to our sponsors and partners. 66

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Chamber Events

BCCT Half-Day Workshop (Managing Performance) 29 November 2012 On 29th November the BCCT Management Development Group (MDG) organised a Thai language workshop on ‘Managing Performance’. The event was sponsored by Property Care Services (Thailand) Ltd.

01 01 - Delegates attending the workshop on ‘Managing Performance’

02 02 - Facilitator Khun Anong Anantachina, HR Director of Property Care Services (Thailand) Ltd (fourth from left) pictured with attendees.

Joint BCCT/AMCHAM/AustCham ICT Evening Presentation 29 November 2012 On 29th November BCCT hosted a Joint ICT Evening Presentation on ‘The Romance of The Three KingdomsApple, Google and Microsoft: The Next 5 Years at Sofitel So Bangkok.

01 01 (from left to right) - Jeffrey Nygaard, AMCHAM Governor - Andrew McBean, Grant Thornton/BCCT Board Director - Haresh Khoobchandani, Microsoft Thailand - Ariya Banomyong, Google Thailand - Chris Thatcher, Anglo-Thai Legal Co., Ltd/BCCT Board Director - Leigh Scott-Kemmis, AustCham Treasurer.

02 02 - The event was well attended by BCCT, AMCHAM and AustCham members.

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Chamber Events

Joint Professional Women’s Group Networking Evening 6 December 2012 On 6th December Diageo Möet Hennessy (Thailand) kindly sponsored the Joint BCCT/AustCham/NZTCC Professional Women’s Group Networking at Diageo Bar.

01 01 (from left to right) - Georgie Passalaris, APAC - Graeme Harlow, Diageo Möet Hennessy (Thailand) Limited - Toni Weber

02 02 - The Diageo Bar was an ideal setting for the PWG networking evening.

All Chambers Festive Eastern Seaboard Networking Party 7 December 2012 BCCT joined hands with AustCham and AMCHAM to organise the All Chamber Festive Eastern Seaboard Networking Party on 7th December. The event was hosted and sponsored by Amari Orchid Pattaya.

01 01 (from left to right) - Mark Carroll, AustCham - David Nardone, Hemaraj Land and Development Public Co., Ltd. - David Cumming, Onyx Hospitality Group/BCCT Board Director - Judy Benn, AMCHAM - Greg Watkins, BCCT - Simon Matthews, ManpowerGroup/BCCT Vice Chairman.

02 02 - All smiles at the Christmas party in Pattaya.

Thank you to our sponsors and partners. 68

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Chamber Events

BCCT Christmas Luncheon 14 December 2012 Many were surprised how fast one year went by, as the highly anticipated BCCT Annual Christmas Luncheon came around on the 14th December. This was the largest gathering of BCCT members in 2012. All the guests were in festive spirit and delighted by a plethora of fun and games that went on throughout the event. Thanks to all the generous sponsors.

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Comings and Goings The British Chamber of Commerce Thailand welcomes the following new members: BLACKMORES Ltd. 10 Floor, A-B Mahanakorn Gypsum Building, 539/2 Sri-Ayudhaya Road, Rajthewee, Bangkok 10400 T: +66 (0) 2248-8290-2 F: +66 (0) 2248-8293 Website:

Representative: Ms. Rananda Rich, Country Manager Business Activity: Blackmores started in Queensland, Australia in the 1930’s and was the vision and passion of Australia’s pioneering naturopath, Maurice Blackmore, an English immigrant. For over 80 years, Blackmores, has combined scientific evidence with traditional knowledge to offer people a more natural approach to health. We strive to make a difference in everything from the products and services we offer to our commitment to environmental sustainability. We aim to deliver the world’s best natural health solutions, to become peoples’ first choice in healthcare. We achieve this by translating our unrivalled heritage and knowledge into innovative, quality branded healthcare solutions that work. Our high quality products, and reliable free health advisory services are among the many reasons Blackmores is the most trusted name in natural health. We have been in Thailand for over 15 years and have been voted Readers Digest Most Trusted Brand in Thailand for 7 years in a row.


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Crown Agents 152 Beach Road, #11-01 Gateway East Singapore 189721 T: +65 6297-8640 F: +65 6297-8842 Website:

Representative: Mr. Mike Byfield, Regional Director Asia - Crown Agents Business Activity: Crown Agents is an international development specialist that partners with leaders across the world to make profound and lasting changes to systems and people. We have offices in 33 countries and work on projects in over 100 countries. Our expertise in financial services, consultancy and supply chain enables governments to increase prosperity, reduce poverty and strengthen health systems.

Intertek Testing Services (Thailand) Ltd. 5/1, Soi Chaloem Suk, Chankasem, Chatuchak Bangkok 10900 T: +66 (0) 2939-0661 F: +66 (0) 2939-0669 Website:

Representative: Mr. Arno Zimmer, General Manager

Business Activity: Testing, Inspection, Auditing and Certification services that cover various industries: Chemicals, Electrical & Electronic, Food & Agriculture, Minerals, Textile, Toy & Hardlines, etc.

KU DÉ TA 39th & 40th Floors Sathorn Square Tower 98 North Sathorn Road Bangkok 10500 T: +66 (0) 2108-2000 F: +66 (0) 2108-2020 Website:

Representative: Mr. Peter Lamb, Director of Restaurants Mr. Dean Kelly Jr., Head of Events Business Activity: KU DÉ TA, Asia’s premier hospitality and lifestyle brand has arrived, reaching towards the clouds, atop Bangkok; located at the pinnacle of the iconic Sathorn Square Tower, KU DÉ TA Bangkok will feature multiple restaurants, lounges, and nightclubs, all designed by the New-York based firm, AvroKO. Liverpool Football Club 20 Chapel Street Liverpool L3 9AG United Kingdom T: +44 (0) 15-1263-2361 F: +44 (0) 15-1237-5972 Website: Representative: Mr. Jonathan Kane, Director of International Business Development

Triple Two Silom Boutique Hotel (Narai Hotel Co., Ltd.) 222, Silom Road, Suriyawong Bangrak, Bangkok 10500 T: +66 (0) 2237-0100 F: +66 (0) 2237-0141 Website:

Representative: Ms. Jidaphar Harboobphar, Corporate Sales Manager Mr. Wanpiti Vongsamanode, Corporate Assistant Sales Manager Business Activity: Triple Two Silom is an innovative and exclusive business class boutique hotel, providing high quality personalized service in a relaxed atmosphere for both business and leisure travelers. Choose from our 75 luxury rooms in two sizes: Deluxe Room 45 sqm. or Junior Suite Room 60 sqm.

Nova Platinum Hotel 562-562/1, Moo 10 Pratumnak Road, Pattaya Chonburi 20150 T: +66 (0) 38-711-345 F: +66 (0) 38-711-346 Website: novaplatinum

The Village International Education Centre 14, Soi Sukhumvit 42 Sukhumvit Road, Prakanong, Klong Tuey Bangkok 10110 Moblie: +66 (0) 81 910 9099 Tel: +66 (0) 2391 4453 up to 5 Fax: +66 (0) 2391 4005 Website:

Representative: Mr. Harcharan Lal Sehmar (Harshi), Director Business Activity: The Village International Education Centre strives to provide quality education and services to children with learning differences. We have a team of specialists including; special education teachers, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, dyslexia specialist and consultant psychologists. We work in partnership with both schools and parents, providing support so that all children can meet their full potential. Change of membership type 1. Cambridge International Consultancy Co., Ltd., changed from Corporate, to Overseas New Company Representatives:

Representative: Mr. Pinyo Siriton, Director of Sales Business Activity: Hotel Industries

1. Binswanger Brooker Thailand Ltd. , changed from Mr. Nigel Cornick,to Mr. Anake Kamolnate 2. BP - Castrol (Thailand) Limited, changed from Mr. Keith Hales, to Mr. Sathit Lertsukwibul 3. British Club Bangkok, changed from Mr. Joost Paijmans, to Mrs. Premrudee Tanyaluck 4. Conrad Bangkok, The, changed from Mr. Vincent Mercurio, to Mr. Harald Feurstein

5. Diethelm Travel Management Ltd. , changed from Mr. John Watson, to Mr. David Gostling 6. Hotel Muse Bangkok, changed from Mr. Alex Chakrabarti, to Mr. Nicolas Peth 7. Millennium Resort Patong Phuket, changed from Mr. Peter David Gibbons, to Mr. Jamal Sidik 8. Nestle (Thai) Ltd., changed from Mr. Trevor Clayton, to Mr. Wayne England 9. Oriental Residence Bangkok, changed from Mr. Patrick Schaub, to Mr. Paul Siriroj Check Space for me naka 10. Penspen Services Limited, changed from Mr. Paul Holliday, to Mr.Robert Avery 11. Royal Bank of Scotland N.V. Bangkok Branch, The, changed from Mr. Manfred Schmoelz, to Mr. Charly Madan 12. TICON Industrial Connection PCL, changed from Mr.Ian Hamilton, to Mr. Patan Somburanasin Changes of company name: 1. MSIG Insurance (Thailand) Co Ltd., changed to MSIG Insurance (Thailand) Public Company Limited 2. Pace Development Co., Ltd., changed to Pace Development Corporation PLC. Members with new addresses: 1. Caelan Wright & Associates Limited 14b, 193/53, Lake Rajada Office Complex Ratchadapisek Road, Klongtoey, Klongtoey Bangkok 10110 T: (0) 2664 1771 F: (0) 2664 1160 2. SpiceRoads Co., Ltd. 45, Sub Soi Pannee, Soi Pridi Banomyong 26, Sukhumvit Soi 71 Klongtan Nua, Wattana Bangkok 10110 T: (0) 2381-7490 F: (0) 2381-7491 The Brief

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Sparks fly over higher energy bills By Dale Lawrence


K householders could be forgiven for reminiscing about the good old days of the Central Electricity Generating Board, the state body responsible (with sister bodies in Scotland) for power generation and distribution across mainland Britain. The CEGB was finally wound up in 2001, some 12 years after The Electricity Act reached the statute book and paved the way for privatisation. Today the power supply that boils your kettle and keeps the lights burning in homes throughout Britain is likely to be produced by German or French owned companies. Take EDF for example. EDF Energy is wholly owned by Electricité de France. It now controls British Energy with a portfolio that includes eight nuclear power stations. Last year EDF posted profits in the UK of £1.7 billion. The figures were announced just a few days after regulator Ofgem told us that EDF was

price hikes that contributed to inflation remaining above target for the fourth consecutive year. Is this what Secretary of State for Energy Cecil Parkinson had in mind as he shaped the privatisation process under the watchful eye of PM Margaret Thatcher? Probably not. top of the league table for consumer complaints. Just to rub salt into the wounds caused by the recession that has blighted so much of Europe as well as the UK, EDF slapped price rises averaging 10.8 percent on long-suffering consumers. EDF reportedly claims that its household gas and electricity sales business is loss-making, with earnings driven instead by the generation division. Cold comfort in the chill of a British winter. Soon-to-depart Bank of Governor Sir Mervin King chastised Chancellor George Osborne for allowing energy

One consumer likely to be untroubled by this latest rise in power bills is Stephen Hester, (pictured left), Chief Executive of Royal Bank of Scotland. RBS, you’ll recall, was fined £391million for its role in the LIBOR rate-rigging scandal but that’s not stopping Mr Hester from trousering a nice little earner in the form of shares valued at £780,000 as a bonus payment. RBS, remember, is 81 percent owned by the British taxpayer. No word yet on whether disgraced RBS Chief Executive Fred Goodwin, stripped of a knighthood last year, has returned the bonuses he earned before stepping down in 2009.

Trouble in Toytown


here’s a storm brewing in South Buckinghamshire about a planned tribute to Enid Blyton. The author who brought us those immortal tales of Noddy, Big Ears, the Famous Five and the Secret Seven, lived for many years in the peaceful town of Beaconsfield. Opinion amongst residents is divided about whether to hold a festival in her honour later this year to mark the 75th anniversary of her move to Beaconsfield with critics


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accusing Mrs Blyton’s writing as being racist and offensive. Blyton’s works, even in their sanitised form, are still best sellers. Kari Dorme, coordinator of the festival being organised by the Beaconsfield Society, says that Enid Blyton’s original works should be accepted for the time in which they were written. She told the Daily Mail, “In the early 1990s some of her publishers made certain text changes, mostly to bring her stories into line with modern thought

and sensitivities, particularly with regard to what some construed as snobbish, racist or sexist attitudes. Even names were modernised. You have to accept them in the time in which they were written, which was at least 60 years ago. “Her books still sell at the rate of six to seven million copies a year, in more than 40 languages. I feel that recognition should be given to the great contribution that she has made to children’s literacy.” Quite so.

British Chamber of Commerce Thailand Greg Watkins Executive Director Greg has worked in Thailand for 21 years, the last 16 as BCCT Executive Director. He is responsible for the overall day-to-day operations and development of the BCCT. Greg began his career with the Department of Trade and Industry in London and served in a variety of roles over seven years, including desk officer for Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. He was also secretary to the South East Asia Trade Advisory Group (SEATAG) and editor of the SEATAG bulletin. Greg also spent nine months in 1989 on attachment to the Commercial Section of the British Embassy in Bangkok. He moved to Thailand in December 1991 and spent five years as Marketing Director for Tara Siam, a business research organisation employing 50 staff before joining BCCT. Email: Rungjit Jarernponganarn Events Manager Rungjit graduated with a Bachelor Degree from Indiana-Purdue University, USA - majoring in Hospitality Management and a Master Degree from Mahidol University, Thailand. Prior to joining the Chamber as Events Manager in November 2005, she worked as Front Desk Associate at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Email:

Groups wishing to hold events or use the BCCT meeting room and will assist you with general membership issues. Email: Kingkaew Prihachinda Finance Manager Kingkaew joined the Chamber as Finance/ Accounting Manager in February 2011. Please contact Khun Kingkaew for all matters relating to finance and membership payment matters. Email: Cate-Gwynthyst Suphastian Administrative Assistant
 Khun Cate is our Administrative Assistant and your first point of contact for queries on payments, receipts, invoices or other accounts matters. Email:


Krit joined the Chamber in September 2004. He was previously the personal driver to the President of the Netherlands-Thai Chamber of Commerce. Somphong Puengpien Messenger

Gann is responsible for all event registration, feedback coordination and networking events matters. She is the contact for BCCT

Sarinthorn (Jyoti) has several years of project management experience in the public affairs, development and international relations fields in Asia and Australia. Her most recent assignment prior to joining BCCT was with the Events and Communications unit of the NSW Government in Australia. Other projects managed include the AusAID funded ‘Youth Ambassadors for Development’ in Thailand; the EU-funded ‘community centres for women empowerment’ in Malaysia, an international conference on ‘Migration and the Wealth of Nations’ and the associated Freedom Festival in Indonesia and, more recently, coordination of the independent election observation mission for the Thai general elections in July 2011. Jyoti’s primary responsibilities include membership and public relations, partnerships projects, publications including the Brief, BCCT website, social media and other communications channels.

Krit Fongpitak Driver

Email: Gann Keerakachinda Events Coordinator

Sarinthorn (Jyoti) Sachavirawong Deputy Director

Somphong has general office duties and acts as mailing clerk, bill collector and messenger. He is the longest serving member of the Chamber’s staff, having joined in November 1973.

Sivaporn Peungpian Membership and Website Co-ordinator Sivaporn (Air) is our Membership and Website Coordinator and is your first contact for membership matters. Khun Air is pleased to assist you with help in updating your company details, contacts and any changes of address. She is also able to assist with booking sponsored emails and the uploading of special offers and members and groups reports to the BCCT website. Email:

British Chamber of Commerce Thailand

Thailand & UK

– Partners in Progress

Who we are Working to represent members’ business interests in Thailand

Our focus Promoting constructive links for members’ business

What we do Seminars, workshops, training, networking and much more

The Brief 01/2013  
The Brief 01/2013  

The British Chamber of Commerce Thailand bi-monthly magazine