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Thai-Norwegian Business Review 2015 – 01

Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce

Norway-Myanmar Business Council Opens its Doors

Norner: Norwegian Company Goes Thai


Contents President’s Foreword 5 Norway’s King and Queen Visits Myanmar

6

Nordea Bank’s Håvard Farstad on Currencies, Crude Oil and Crisis

8

Weak Krone may Revive Norwegian Tourism Fortunes

11

Another Norwegian Company Goes Thai: A Profile of Norner

12

Thailand’s Tango on Tweaking FBA Restrictions

15

Thailand’s Coming Stand-off on Energy Supply

17

Do Thailand’s Energy Policies Support Green Growth?

19

Theme: A Regional Perspective

23

What Lessons Can Thailand Learn from India’s Successful IT Adventure?

24

6

High Hopes as Norway-Myanmar Business Council Opens its Doors 26 NTGM Provides an Umbrella of Support for Potential Investors in Myanmar

28

Internet for All Requires Collaboration and Tailoring

30

Myanmar Goes Green: Encouraging Sustainability during Massive Growth Spurts

32

ICH Keeps Norwegian Hydropower Competency Sharp

34

11

Seafood Under the Stars 40 Jabr Al-Azeeby: Dubai’s Man in Bangkok at Highflying Emirates

42

Kill Bill: Thai Inheritance Tax Bill Still Inconclusive

46

Member Visits

48

JFCCT Luncheon with the Prime Minister

52

Thailand’s Economy at a Glance

55

Membership Directory

56

Editor: Thitikul K. Opdal Advertising: Anders Magnusson Journalists: Eric Baker, Christopher Caillavet Graphic Design: Graphics-Related Co., Ltd. www.norcham.com

Norner CEO Tine Rørvik and SCG Chemicals President Cholanat Yanaranop flanked by Bamble Mayor Jon Pieter Flølo and Provincial Governor for Telemark Terje RiisJohansen. Photo: Norner

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President’s Foreword Life is for

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The Annual General Meeting is just around the corner at the time of writing. Last year was a very successful year for the Chamber. The highlight of 2014 was the Norway-Asia Business Summit which we hosted in April, but since then we have had a number of successful events; The Christmas activities, JFFCT’s Lunch with the Prime Minister, the best ever Seafood under the Stars and last but not least, the Premium Member luncheon hosted by our Ambassador. For the first time in the Chamber’s history, we have also focused on physical visits to our Premium and Corporate Member companies. Many good suggestions and comments have been well received and taken to heart. Indeed a very useful and much appreciated activity. Pressure from the foreign business community, including that of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce (JFCCT) has resulted in a decision by the Ministry of Commerce not to tighten the Foreign Business Act further. The government is rightfully nervous on economic effects of a more stringent FBA. Towards the end of 2014 the Norwegian Krone started to gradually depreciate against the US Dollar and thereby also against the Baht which has remained relatively stable against the Dollar. The effects are dramatic, nearly 20% y-o-y. The main reason behind the currency impact is the lower oil price, which is very good for most of the world, except for the Norwegians and the Russians who are so reliant on oil. The resulting currency effects have been mostly positive for Norway though; Norway is now more competitive than ever. Goods exported from Norway are to some extent cheaper and Norway has become more affordable for foreign tourists. On the negative side, imports from Thailand are more expensive and foreign companies with Norwegian Kroner contracts are suffering. It will be interesting to follow the development ahead. Across the border in Myanmar, the first State Visit to Asia in ten years by Norway’s King and Queen ended successfully in December, resulting in even closer ties between the two countries. Our Chamber has been instrumental in bringing Norwegian businesses into Myanmar. More than 20 Norwegian-related companies are either established or about to be established in Myanmar. During the Norwegian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Trade and Business’ visit to Myanmar last month, the Norway-Myanmar Business Council was formally launched. Finally, we have seen a new development in Norwegian business: Thai companies are acquiring stakes in Norwegian companies. In the last issue, we brought you Thai Union Frozen which acquired the Norwegian seafood brand King Oscar. In this issue we bring you Norner AS, recently acquired by Siam Cement Group. Open the magazine and read more! Sincerely,

Vibeke Lyssand LeirvĂĽg President Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce Thai-Norwegian Business Review

5


Norway’s King and Queen Visits Myanmar By Business Review reporters

T

heir Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway visited Myanmar on an official State Visit for five days starting on December 1st, 2014. The main purpose of the visit was to highlight Norway’s longstanding support to the reform process in Myanmar, as well as further development of bilateral relations, including development cooperation and business relations. Their Majesties were accompanied by H.E. Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Børge Brende and H.E. Minister of Trade and Industry Ms Monica Mæland, State Secretary of Petroleum and Energy, Mr Kåre Fostervold and State Secretary of Climate and Environment as well as CEO of Innovation Norway, Ms Anita Krohn Traaseth.

Their Majesties were received by H.E. President U Thein Sein in Nay Pyi Taw on the first day of the visit. The King and Queen also met with Speaker of Myanmar’s Union Parliament Thura U Shwe Mann, and the Chair of Parliamentary Committee on Rule of Law, Peace and Tranquillity and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. In addition, meetings with civil society organisations took place. On the second day of the visit, an extensive programme in Yangon took place. H.M. King Harald delivered a speech on democratic development at Yangon University. Their Majesties also participated in the official opening of the Centre of Excellence for Greening/ASEAN Institute for Green Productivity, which has received funding from Norway. While Their Majesties were engaged at Yangon University, two business seminars were held, one on oil and gas, the other on renewable energy solutions. Stakeholders from both Norway and Myanmar participated in the seminars.

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Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce

“Right from the beginning, Norway has been an active supporter of the far-reaching process of reforms and democratisation in Myanmar. The forthcoming state visit highlights the close relations that have developed between Norway and Myanmar. Since Myanmar’s next general election is in 2015, the coming year will be crucial for the future development of the country. Norway will continue to support the process of reforms”, said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

Their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja arrives in Nay Pyi Taw. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

The business programme continued with a luncheon at L’Opera restaurant in the presence of Their Majesties hosted by H.E. Ambassador Ms Ann Ollestad and the CEO of Innovation Norway, Ms Anita Krohn Traaseth. The day ended with a grand reception by the poolside at the Chatrium Hotel where more than 500 dignitaries, government officials, members of the diplomatic community and business leaders from both countries were assembled. During the state visit, Their Majesties also had time to take in some sights of Myanmar. They visited the Shwe Dagon Pagoda and after the official part visit was completed, the King and Queen travelled on a private visit to Bagan and Mandalay before heading back to Norway. Before the King and Queen arrived in Myanmar, Foreign Minister Børge Brende had talks with a number of people on Norway’s support for the peace process in the country in the time ahead, including the minister responsible for the peace process, H.E. U Aung Min, and leaders of some of the ethnic groups participating in the peace process.

In addition to taking part in the programme for the state visit, Minister of Trade and Industry Ms Monica Mæland had talks on business sector cooperation with the Myanmar authorities. The minister opened a seminar on educational co-operation at Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) together with H.E. Myanmar’s Union Minister of Education, Dr Daw Khin San Yee. Included in the seminar was a panel discussion on how to deal with an inexperienced labour force and what could be done to mitigate the challenges.

“Norwegian companies can help to find socially responsible solutions, and can provide technological and business expertise that can generate more jobs for the local population and ensure sustainable development for Myanmar” Prior to the state visit, Ms Mæland visited local mobile phone distributors, together with head of Telenor’s Asia operations, Mr Sigve Brekke. Telenor is one of the first major companies to invest in Myanmar, and it has just launched mobile phone services in the country.

H.M. King Harald addresses dignitaries and students at Yangon University. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

“I am keen to explore how Norwegian companies can help to develop important infrastructure, use natural resources sustainably, and in general contribute to positive developments in Myanmar. Norway places great emphasis on the principles of corporate social responsibility, environmental sustainability, and decent work. Norwegian companies establishing operations in Myanmar can set a good example for local companies, by setting high standards for corporate conduct”, said Ms Mæland. Altogether, 70 representatives of around 40 Norwegian companies participated in the state visit. The business programme was tailored to Myanmar’s immediate needs, first and foremost in the area of energy, with a focus on renewables and on oil and gas, but also in the area of telecommunications. CEO of Innovation Norway, Ms Anita Krohn Traaseth led the business delegation. “Norwegian companies can help to find socially responsible solutions, and can provide technological and business expertise that can generate more jobs for the local population and ensure sustainable development for Myanmar. Innovation Norway is seeking to make sure that Norwegian companies use their expertise and their competitive advantage abroad”, she said

Thai-Norwegian Business Review

7


Nordea Bank’s Håvard Farstad on Currencies, Crude Oil and Crisis By Christopher Caillavet

A

t February’s Nordic Breakfast Seminar, NORDEA Private Banking’s Håvard Farstad gave a presentation on “Turmoil in the Markets: Consequences for the Nordics and Asia”.

The event, a collaboration of the Thai-Norwegian, Danish-Thai, Thai-Swedish and Thai-Finnish chambers of commerce, offered an expert’s perspective on the upshot of plunging oil prices and the direction of key currencies. Mr Farstad is a native of Norway and senior account manager at Nordea Bank’s Singapore branch. He began on a cheery note for the assembled guests at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit. “When you read about all the negative news in the press these days, maybe it’s not that bad. 2015-16 looks to be okay for the world. And the main reason behind that is the lower oil price, which is very good for most of the world, except for the Norwegians and the Russians. “Also, low interest rates and even negative interest rates in Denmark, the euro zone, Switzerland and so on, it’s very positive. If you run a business right now, and you have access to credit, it’s good news.” In Mr Farstad’s view, Europe’s biggest long-term problem is the ageing population. Parts of Asia are grappling with the issue as well. “What you see now is that Europe has probably peaked. In Japan in 2014, for the first time, they sold more adult diapers than diapers for children. China, due to their one-child policy, will also peak within the next 15 or 20 years. So that is a challenge for these countries.” Most of the population and GDP growth will take place in the emerging markets of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Developed markets can expect tension between ageing populations claiming benefits and younger workers feeling squeezed by underperforming economies.

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Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce

“So, many of the European countries, and especially Japan, have borrowed money in order to finance health care, pensions, bureaucracy, subsidies for agriculture and so on. And, long term, that is a very difficult situation.”

The main reason behind the currency impact is the lower oil price, which is very good for most of the world, except for the Norwegians and the Russians. Mr Farstad touched on the dramatic drop in crude oil prices, from USD 110 a barrel to USD 60 in less than a year’s time. “We are in a new situation when it comes to the oil price. What we see right now is that demand is very stable, at around 91, 92 million barrels per day, but the supply is higher. And what we see then is that the price drops. But what also happens is when the price drops below USD 50, suddenly supply also goes down.”

The reason for this phenomenon? In a word: fracking. “Most of the growth in oil supply for the last three, four, five years has come from the U.S., not from the Middle East. Not from Russia and not from Norway. What you’re seeing now is that shale oil has come to the market.” Shale oil is onshore crude released from deep-rock formations in a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking for short. Using this method, U.S. oil producers added about 2 million extra barrels a day to the market over the past two years. The catch is that as the oil price nears USD 50 a barrel, fracking becomes cost-prohibitive. Wells must shut down.

“Now there is probably a more narrow price range for oil. Maybe between USD 50, and if it goes up to USD 100, they will turn on production again in the U.S. For the next few years, you will definitely see production increase if the oil price increases. There is a time lag here, six to 12 months.”

And who is the big beneficiary of cheaper oil? Definitely Asia. “In absolute numbers, it’s China, because they are the biggest consumer. Japan, which doesn’t have much energy, so they have to import all their oil. Singapore, because the oil consumption there is big relative to the economy. But also Thailand is benefiting from lower oil, even though Thailand has oil and gas.” Turning to currencies and interest rates, Mr Farstad talked about how Europe has engaged in quantitative easing — printing money, buying bonds — in a bid to kick-start the moribund economy. “Everyone is trying to avoid a Japanese situation [of decades-long stagnation and deflation]. That is why they are printing money, trying to keep interest rates low, weakening the currency, so they can get the growth back. The consequence has been a very weak euro against the dollar. And the Norwegian krone has followed the euro, and of course has been hit by the oil price as well. The Russian rouble is probably one of the few that is worse off than the Norwegian krone.” In Asia, the Thai baht has performed better than most in the past year. Together with the Chinese yuan, the baht is one of the few currencies that has not dropped in value versus the U.S. dollar. “So in that sense, it’s a challenge for exporters in Thailand, and a challenge for the tourist industry. If you’re a rich Norwegian now, coming to Thailand, you see that the cost has increased. You don’t get as much for your money as you did last year.”

Norwegian currency. Photo: Yngve Ask/Innovation Norway

The biggest currency story in recent months was the Swiss central bank’s decision to untether the Swiss franc from the euro — a shock move that caught many parties off guard. “A lot of people made money on it, but also a lot of people lost money on it. In Eastern Europe, it’s normal to have a mortgage in Swiss francs or in U.S. dollars because interest is much lower than locally. Suddenly, your mortgage increases by 20%.” Thee is speculation that the Danish krone’s own peg to the euro could be severed, as some traders see Denmark’s currency as undervalued. Mr Farstad made a qualified prediction. “We don’t expect that the peg will fall. But you never know. It’s more or less a free bet to move money from euro to DKK. It will be interesting to see.” Looking ahead, Nordea Bank’s analysts anticipate dollar-euro parity by the end of 2016 as the common currency continues to weaken.

Thai-Norwegian Business Review

9


Weak Krone may Revive Norwegian Tourism Fortunes By Eric Baker

T

he weak Norwegian krone is expected to increase tourism to Norway by at least 5% this year, report tourism officials in the country.

The krone has depreciated an astonishing one-third against the US dollar since March 2014. Crude oil prices recently dropped as low as USD 45 per barrel, and as the oil industry is Norway’s biggest revenue generator, the decline in oil prices has led to a massive weakening of the Norwegian currency. Norway’s central bank also cut its main interest rate in December to 1.25%, the first drop in over two years, and indicated further rate cuts this year have a 50% chance of happening, reported Bloomberg.

Tourists enjoying a panorama view of Geirangerfjord. Photo: CH/visitnorway.com

“For example, you may be surprised to know that the

Hotel prices are at least 25% cheaper in Norway now

largest increase in European visitors last year was for bird-

from the same period last year, with similar falls in the

watching. Norway has beautiful nature, but hasn’t been a

relative price of restaurant meals, transport and shopping.

traditional destination for so many birders in the past. The

Per-Arne Tuftin, tourism director for Norway, told Dagens

industry has to be adaptive.

Næringsliv in January that the weak krone is expected to increase overnight by foreign tourists about 5% this year. Innovation Norway reported the number of overnight stays in 2014 rose 3%, with the biggest uptick coming from Americans, increasing 34%, which it attributed to a stronger US economy and an influx of tourists who saw the Disney film Frozen and wanted to see the country on which it was

“But for the seafood industry, we saw an immediate increase in orders as the krone depreciated.” The Norwegian Embassy in Thailand reported a record high for Schengen visas in 2014, hitting 10,556, though that includes residence visas. It reported a slight decrease in Norwegian visitors to Thailand last year, but chalked that

based.

up to the political unrest rather than the currency decline.

However, Frank Bakke-Jensen, a Norwegian member of

Mr Tuftin said the weak krone may encourage more

parliament, said there is sometimes a lag between currency

Norwegians to spend their holidays at home as travelling

movements and tourism numbers.

abroad has become more expensive.

“Norway still has a reputation as an expensive country to

Oil prices are not expected to rebound any time soon, so

visit, and that can take time to change,” said Mr BakkeJensen, who has business interests in the tourism and

Norwegian tourism operators may well get their wish for higher inbound volume.

seafood industries. “With tourism, people choose to visit a country for different reasons as well, not just price.”

Thai-Norwegian Business Review

11


Another Norwegian Company Goes Thai: A Profile of Norner By Eric Baker

S

CG Chemicals Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Siam Cement Group, purchased a 51% stake late last year in Norner Holding, a Norwegian chemical research company specialising in polymers. The Business Review was given the opportunity to sit down with Tine Rørvik, the chief executive of Norner, and talk about the company’s direction following the share sale. “We are happy with the purchase, as SCG shares the same vision as Norner,” she said. “A lot of companies may preach a message about innovation and research and development, but they don’t live it. We can see SCG really lives that message. “The company just opened a beautiful new chemical technology research centre in Rayong. They continue to push for R&D. They are very good on human resources. The company is focused. We are pleased.” Ms Rørvik said the R&D director of SCG Chemicals revealed to her how quickly his company grew, starting with five employees when it first branched out from SCG. “He told me ‘Now SCG Chemicals has 5,000 employees and we have the largest turnover of any of SCG’s segments,’” she said. Norner first paid a visit to Thailand in 2010 in a meeting Innovation Norway helped arrange. From that point, the company continued to build a relationship with SCG. Norner works for several sectors on petrochemicals and polymers, including automotive, chemical, consumables, oil and gas, and pipes. But Ms Rørvik is especially bullish on plastics going forward. “Everything is based on plastics now,” she said. “It is the raw material for so many products. Our specialty is how to produce and use plastics. I see a really bright future in this field because so many industries use them. The medical industry uses a lot of plastics, as does food packaging, which has very strict regulations because of health concerns.

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Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce

“Even the oil and gas sector, which most people don’t associate with plastics, is embracing them in a struggle to reduce costs. The metal typically used in oil and gas exploration and drilling is heavy and subject to corrosion. They are switching to lighter, plastic materials. Everything that sucks up oil and gas is made of plastics, and we see demand for plastic insulation, pipelines, mooring and seismic cables. “A lot of the oil and gas industry is subsea now, and companies want to know if the materials they use are going to last for 30 years underwater. If you have a shutdown in this industry, it’s very expensive, so it’s in these companies’ interests to get it right the first time.”

The acquisition makes sense for SCG as it builds a footprint in Europe, where a lot of interesting work on plastics is happening, such as development of new products and testing of properties. Ms Rørvik said the acquisition makes sense for SCG as it builds a footprint in Europe, where a lot of interesting work on plastics is happening, such as development of new products and testing of properties. Norner has not had a board meeting since the share sale, but she doesn’t anticipate many changes in strategy from the new investor. “We have to discuss and fine-tune our direction,” said Ms Rørvik. “But part of why SCG bought us was our competence. The main reason people come to us is our experience, with over 30 years in the market. “A lot of our clients are really large companies, so they are looking to us for innovation. They have their own labs for testing, but they are buying lots of raw materials and want to figure out how to make high-value products.

Norner CEO, Dr. Tine Rørvik presenting SCG Chemicals as the new majority owners in Porsgrunn on 13 January 2015

“In addition to the know-how, our customers need to feel safe and secure. We are dealing with some of their deepest trade secrets to help them innovate, and we have experience that has helped to build up trust. Part of that trust comes from customers knowing we are independent and all of our focus for that project is directed to them. “I’m sure SCG Chemicals realises the value of that independence as well and wouldn’t want to jeopardise it. One reason it bought us is to make better use of our resources, absolutely. We look forward to working on a wider portfolio with our Thai partners.” She said Norway was a great location for Norner as all the big oil companies have a presence there and continue to invest in innovation. SCG Chemicals intends to buy the remaining 49% stake in Norner this September. The entire purchase is valued at about 340 million baht, including 40 million baht of debt.

The president of SCG Chemicals will serve as the chairman of Norner. Norner has facilities in Stathelle, Norway with about 50 employees. “We are looking to expand our hiring,” said Ms Rørvik. “We view the stage we’re out now as a building block.” Norner currently contributes innovation, consultancy and testing services, but it started as a technology centre some 35 years ago. Statoil was interested in downstream activities for oil and gas, developing a petrochemical centre. The company was eventually spun off and went through several ownership changes and names before it arrived at its current form in 2007, said Ms Rørvik, but it always kept its independence.

Thai-Norwegian Business Review

13


Thailand’s Tango on Tweaking FBA Restrictions By Eric Baker

T

he delicate two-step taking place with Thailand’s Foreign Business Act (FBA) seems likely to continue in the near future, as foreign businesses repeatedly gauge the sincerity of Thai authorities threatening to make unfavourable tweaks to the law.

The Thai government proposed amending the FBA last year to look into the actual roles of foreign management, apart from their official shareholding structures, to allegedly prevent them from overly dominating businesses here, reported the Bangkok Post in January. The FBA was passed in 1999 and precludes foreigners from forming or taking part in several businesses in Thailand. If a majority of the shares of a limited company are held by Thais, it is regarded as a Thai company and is not subject to the FBA, meaning foreigners are allowed to participate up to 49% in a company engaged in restricted businesses. A periodic review of the FBA is not unusual in Thailand, regardless of the government in power. Foreign industry veterans acknowledged they are familiar with this process.

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Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce

The prevailing theory is the Thai government must show deference to Thai businesses, including the Thai Chamber of Commerce, as they are constantly wary of foreign competition, and part of this process is threatening to redefine terms such as foreigner or foreign influence in the FBA. Deep down, everyone knows it is unlikely the government will do anything because it would be economic suicide if it alienated foreign investors and they pulled out of the country. But the government must not be seen as favouring foreign investors, even though there are plenty of incentive schemes designed to do just that. On January 12, Pongpun Gearaviriyapun, director-general of the Department of Business Development, said the department concluded the FBA should not be changed this year to comply with the government’s effort to attract more foreign investment to Thailand. This followed several tense meetings with the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand (JFCCT), who did their level best to explain why making the law more restrictive would hurt the Thai

economy. In fact, the JFCCT has been working for years to open up the FBA, arguing it will benefit Thailand’s economy in the long run. The department will no longer require the formation of financial institutions, banks and insurance firms seek approval from the Foreign Business Board because other laws and authorities already controlled their establishment, said Mrs Pongpun. However, the Foreign Business Board will retain its authority to approve or deny the formation of related businesses of financial institutions, banks and insurance firms, such as leasing businesses, reported the Bangkok Post.

“The Department of Business Development concluded that the FBA should not be changed this year to comply with the government’s effort to attract more foreign investment to Thailand”

The minimum capital requirement for foreigners setting up a business in Thailand is Baht 2 million in general, and Baht 3 million for businesses permitted for foreigner under conditions, or businesses not yet permitted to foreigners. Businesses receiving Thailand Board of Investment privileges may be exempt from rules on foreigners owning the majority of shares. This ruling for promoted projects depends upon BoI consideration.

Thai-Norwegian Business Review

15


Thailand’s Coming Stand-off on Energy Supply By Eric Baker

C

ivic groups displayed a rare show of power in recent weeks, as protests and marches led the government to extend the bid deadline for petroleum and gas exploration concessions until further notice. Many people involved in the opposition alliance that signed an open letter to the government are concerned about the type of contract offered to gas explorers, but local communities are equally concerned about how energy projects may change their way of life. The elephant in the room for Thai industry this year is the impending stand-off on the country’s energy situation. Though the first commercial natural gas field in Thailand was only discovered in 1981, government planners have known for years the country needs new sources for its energy security as the nation’s main domestic output — natural gas — continues to dwindle. The Energy Ministry predicts the nation’s gas reserves will only last seven years. State energy authorities have vowed to push ahead with new domestic production programmes despite opposition from activists, conservationists and local communities because natural gas already comprises the bulk of Thailand’s energy supply, with a large chunk of that coming from Myanmar. But several communities in areas where power plants are planned have risen up and protested, delaying or cancelling the government’s power development plans.

Mr. Chairat Teekhasaenee, MD of Skanem Bangkok donated the pressure sensitive labels to Camillian Home which is non-profit organization supporting children living with disabilities or been orphaned/abandoned on 28 November, 2014.

A traditional coal power plant. Photo: istockphoto.com

near power plants to several of the hazardous elements listed above, and post-combustion waste from coal plants, known as coal ash, can contaminate waterways. But Thailand needs more power production not just to grow, but to function. Energy Minister Narongchai Akrasanee told The Nation in January the ministry would plow ahead with the government’s power development plan “no matter what opposition might arise”. “It is one of our key performance indicators. The Office of the Public Sector Development Commission will evaluate our performance based on these grounds,” he said.

The activists and communities claim that these new power plants, mostly coal, are harmful to the environment. Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) documents show bituminous coal for its new plants will contain 0.1-1% sulphur and 0.73-0.85% arsenic, and activists claim cadmium, lead and mercury will also be present in the coal.

Public forums with communities where power plants are proposed have led to angry protests as activists claim energy authorities are only paying lip service to their concerns, continuing with their plans. One current battleground is in Krabi province, where the government plans to build two coal-fired 800-megawatt power plants. The Krabi plants are in the planning stages, but authorities want them operating by 2019, in line with Egat’s plan to increase power generation from coal to 23% by 2030, up from 14% now.

While coal advocates have promoted “clean coal” technologies, which reduce greenhouse gas emissions when using coal to generate power, several activists and community leaders now know that mining coal is harmful to humans and the land, coal combustion exposes humans

The Krabi public forum last September had 700 “security volunteers”, armed soldiers and policemen crowd the venue, reported The Nation, making it nearly impossible for opponents of the project to attend the forum, let alone voice their concerns. The government wants to build a

Thai-Norwegian Business Review

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Continued from page 17

Do Thailand’s Energy Policies Support Green Growth?

“The activists and communities claim that these new power plants, mostly coal, are harmful to the environment”

By Eric Baker

W

hile previous Thai governments seem to have merely paid lip service to promoting renewable energy, the Prayut Chan-o-cha administration is at least taking some action.

coal pier for the planned plants in Krabi, but opponents are concerned about protecting the local wetlands along with public health and safety measures. Opponents of the plan point to this as an example of authorities trying to ram through policies, regardless of public concerns. They advocate the potential of renewable energy as a solution, as even renowned polluter China has taken recent steps to change its power development portfolio. Thailand’s power development plan (PDP) for 2012 to 2030 calls for the country to increase its power capacity to 70,686 MW by 2030 to accommodate projected demand. Capacity in late 2014 stood at 35,668 MW, with peak consumption in April of 26,942 MW. But a recent Ministry Energy meeting for a new PDP from 2015 to 2036 predicted the peak power demand for 2036 will likely be lowered to 59,300 MW. The PDP expects new thermal power plants to generate 8,623 MW, a mix of coal, nuclear, imported energy from neighbouring countries, and gas turbines. In addition to the two coal-fired plants in Krabi, Egat plans to construct two coal power plants in Songkhla and Nakhon Si Thammarat provinces, and one each in Trang and Satun. Hydropower plants in Laos and Myanmar are projected to make up an increasingly important part of Thailand’s planned energy mix, despite opposition at some of those locations. While the government has set ridiculously high targets for renewable energy production, up to 20% of the total by 2030, it has done precious little to promote such output. An initial step was the recent announcement it was revoking the solar power production licences for those people and organisations that have not used them. The next bidding for renewable energy licences, the first in years, is scheduled for March 2015. The Energy Ministry’s Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency estimates that technical

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Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce

Railay Beach in Krabi. It’s pristine beaches like these that environmentalists are worried about. Photo: istockphoto.com

potential for Thailand’s renewable energy is as high as 71,518 MW — of which 42,356 MW is solar power and 14,141 MW wind power. Yet only 6% of that potential is being tapped, mostly by private investors, notes a February editorial in the Bangkok Post. Egat executives have indicated they prefer coal production at this point because it is cheaper, ranging from 2.8-3 baht per unit, while wind power ranges from five to six baht per unit and solar power eight to nine baht. At the recent PDP meeting, the country’s capacity target for renewable energy by 2036 was lowered to 16,279 MW from 20,800, while there may be a 24% cut in the energy-saving goal. Doubts swirl around all the energy production options in Thailand, including the controversial petroleum and gas concessions that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha insists will go forward after the public forum. There are 29 resource blocks planned to allow concession bids this session, but the last one seven years ago had 28 concessions, and of those oil was found in only five spots. Though the government seems bound and determined to follow its fossil-fuel-based PDP, a look at the history of nuclear power development in the country remains instructive. Thailand has proposed developing a nuclear reactor since the 1960s, and started in earnest to build one in the 1990s. But plans have been repeatedly thwarted and delayed, by a combination of both public pressure and environmental and safety regulations. Get ready for a tug-of-war.

The government announced this year it was revoking solar power production licences for those people and organisations that have not used them, and scheduling bidding for the next round of renewable energy licences in March 2015. Renewable energy has been a fashionable stance for governments for some time now, but in part because of Thailand’s energy security concerns the country has to seriously consider where it plans to source its power from in the near future. Thailand listed renewable energy contributing 25% of the total power supply by 2021, in line with its Alternative Energy Development Plan, but rumours from a recent update to the plan are that this goal will be scaled back as the segment only makes up 5% of the total now. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has been promoting a green growth strategy for some years now. The goal is to provide a development framework for governments to utilise tactics that consider both the economy and the environment. For example, in Thailand and several other developing countries, as the nation industrialises, an increasing amount of waste is being created that is not being dealt with as there is no feedback system in place. The “price” from industrial development is not being absorbed by manufacturers or reflected in the price of industrial products, wrote Kannika Thampanishvong, a research fellow at Thailand Development Research Institute, in a policy paper last September. Economic growth theory posits that growth is confined by a limited base of natural resources and nature’s limited ability to act as a sink for the waste resulting from economic activities.

Solar farm in Thailand. Photo: istockphoto.com

“By using energy as an ‘input’ in the production process, we are drawing down on stocks of exhaustible resources and generating pollution that causes the quality of the environment to deteriorate,” wrote Ms Kannika. “The green growth model links these source and sink roles of nature and aims to lower the emissions-to-output ratio by proposing a cleaner mix of production methods that enable the economy to grow while reducing pollution.” She noted the economists William A. Brock and M. Scott Taylor found that improving the production methods is not enough to cultivate green growth. Technological progress directly related to innovation is the key player in determining growth and environmental outcomes. In addition, a study by Dhira Phantumvanit and Theodore Panayotou showed firms can minimise the impact they impose on the environment by modifying their production processes, improving waste treatment, or inventing new products that generate less emissions. If this sounds like a big ask for Thailand, it is. But Ms Kannika is hopeful the country can follow the model set by South Korea, which transformed from energy-intensive industries to export-focused research and development into green technology. It used stimulus funds to finance the development of renewable energy sources, energy-efficient buildings, low-carbon vehicles, green management of waste and the expansion of mass transit systems.

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Continued from page 19

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Of course, Thailand has a very poor record of supporting R&D and innovation, spending less than 1% of its GDP on the segment for decades. But even if the country’s education system and outlay for R&D seem unlikely to support sustainable green growth, there are plenty of steps the government can take, and the Prayut administration has seemed receptive to renewable energy strategies. “Regulatory policies can ban or limit certain behaviours or products. Financial incentives can use taxes or subsidies to influence green behaviour. Information policies including green labelling can show the carbon footprint of a product. Last but not least, behavioural tools use the ‘nudge’ concept to encourage consumers to make decisions that are better for the environment,” wrote Ms Kannika.

“Regulatory policies can ban or limit certain behaviours or products. Financial incentives can use taxes or subsidies to influence green behaviour. Information policies including green labelling can show the carbon footprint of a product.” One positive sign is Thailand is supporting more distributed generation (DG), where power generation is decentralised and closer to demand. This typically means more Small Power Producer and Very Small Power Producer projects, and of those the government is offering several incentives for renewable energy, particularly solar power. The government has proposed solar power through rooftop, city initiative, and government building programmes, using special feed-in tariffs, investment funds and spending schemes to subsidise the strategy, wrote Wantana Somcharoenwattana for www.renewableenergyworld.com.

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“However, in terms of grid operation, transmission and distribution for DG, challenges remain. Integration of DG into the system, fluctuation of renewables dispatching profiles, system stability and reliability are key challenges if there is a high penetration of renewables-based DG,” she wrote. The Thai government has decided to explore its options for future generation by appointing a smart grid committee, but the completion of an integrated grid is not expected until 2028-2032. Energy policymakers are optimistic about the bidding for solar power, biomass, biogas, waste-to-energy, wind farms and mini-hydropower scheduled for this year, hoping for up to 100 billion baht to be invested. But Thailand’s existing incentives have been insufficient in convincing investors to start manufacturing renewable energy thus far. Part of that lack of output is due to a lack of technical knowledge about solar technology and a lack of practical knowledge about the feed-in tariff system. How close Thailand gets to meeting its original goal of 25% of the power supply being supplied by renewable energy in 2021 will depend on how serious it is about promoting the sector. Despite previous renewable energy schemes, the US Energy Information Administration reports that biomass and biogas made up only 2% of the total power supply in 2013, and renewable energy only 5%. Yet the Energy Ministry and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand have vowed to fuel their power development expansion mainly through coal-fired power plants, in the face of protests from environmentalists and locals in the communities in which the plants are scheduled. The only way Thailand can inch toward green growth is to decide if it is serious about trying to produce renewable energy, through its policies and actions. Yes, generating power from fossil fuels is cheaper and will probably continue to be for a number of years. But even China realised it cannot continue to endlessly degrade its environment for cheap power.

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In this magazine, we have looked westward to India to understand how we can learn from this fiercely competitive and gigantic market of 1.3 billion people. This issue of Business Review also covers stories with a regional perspective, including several articles from neighbouring Myanmar. India is hosting the Norway-Asia Business Summit 2015 in New Delhi from 16 to 18 April 2015. This is the fifth year for the summit, which has evolved into an annual event for industry leaders, diplomatic missions and Norwegian government to brainstorm key regional trends and their impact on Norwegian industry. Asia is a key emerging player on the global stage. Its diverse ethnoculture, politics and economy continue to intrigue. Eminent speakers at the summit including 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi will unravel the important issues shaping Asia, its human capital, talent pool, rich natural resources, technology trends, energy requirements and finance markets, etc. We urge our members to attend this exciting conference to explore the opportunities that Incredible India offers Norwegian businesses. The conference is arranged by the Norwegian Business Association India (NBAI), with support from the Norwegian Embassy and Innovation Norway. The event will be opened by Norway’s Minister of Trade and Industry, H.E. Ms Monica Mæland. We hope you will enjoy the articles and look forward to seeing you in New Delhi in April.

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What Lessons Can Thailand Learn from India’s Successful IT Adventure? By Eric Baker

I

ndia has been very successful at information technology (IT) for over a decade now. The Thai government is keen on creating a digital economy, with eight bills concerning the subject winning cabinet approval already this year.

Ahead of the Norway-Asia Business Summit planned for this April in New Delhi, the Thai-Norwegian Business Review looked to see what lessons Thailand could learn from the subcontinent as it attempts to transform its economy. Many of the basic reasons are well-known, but they bear repeating. India opened up its economy in 1991 and is very receptive to foreign investment. The country has a giant population, most of whom speak English, and wages are relatively low there, making it attractive to foreign investors. The country set about training and educating its population to deal with the IT industry, especially as software developers. And the time difference allows Indians to fix IT problems while the US sleeps. Some of these are very simplistic, but they do partially explain why India has been so successful with IT. The main factor that differentiates India from so many developing countries that focus on low-technology, labour-driven exports such as garments and machine assembly is education. And this factor is where Thailand has much to learn. MCOT Online News reported last year that Thailand spends the highest percentage of its national budget on education, some 20%, yet repeatedly has some of the worst outcomes. The Bangkok Post reported in February 2015 that on average Thai students in Mathayom 6 (equivalent to the U.S. high school diploma grade 12 or British high school level), preparing to enter university failed six out of seven of the subject entry exams, including English, maths and science, while barely passing Thai language with a poor grade. The country recently finished at the bottom of a survey of education in ASEAN countries, competing with

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some Southeast Asian nations that spend a fraction of the amount on education.

business here. Thailand has set up SEZs for other industries, and its Board of Investment just agreed on a new criteria for accepting investment projects that will prioritise IT projects among others for development.

In contrast, Indian culture emphasises parents committing to their children’s education. The importance of education is drilled into children at a very young age, as many see it as the only path to a higher standard of living. Some parents spend all their savings to send their children abroad for education, but in general the standard of education in India is much higher than in Thailand.

Indian culture emphasises parents committing to their children’s education. The importance of education is drilled into children at a very young age, as many see it as the only path to a higher standard of living. If there is one action Thai authorities can take to improve the country’s chance at developing a digital economy, it is improving the education system. Short of an overhaul, which would take decades and cost billions, the government can focus on increasing IT vocational schools. Another reason IT has been successful in India is because other domestic industries that utilise its services flourished, such as retail, banking, telecommunications, auto making, and manufacturing. Of course, telecommunications form a part of the IT industry, and the sector was partially privatised in India, clearing the way for its growth. Thailand is in good standing on this point, as it has several of the same developed sectors in dire need of IT assistance, and it has liberalised its telecom industry as well.

Indian student at the blackboard. Photo: istockphoto.com

India has a giant working age population, with over 60% of the total population below 25. On the other hand, demographers call Thailand an ageing society, with the ratio of its population over 65 expected to increase from 8.9% in 2010 to 19.5% in 2030, according to UN estimates. Thailand has an unusually small unemployment rate, but many would likely switch to IT jobs because of the higher wages if they could find training. India also set up several IT or software technology parks, creating specialised economic zones (SEZs) where software services companies could receive tax subsidies in exchange for their investment. Bangalore, Hyderabad and Gurgaon all leap to mind as cities that took the initiative to build up IT facilities. Thailand is woefully inadequate on this issue, either because it lacks the investment or the qualified employees to staff such IT parks. But the Thai government needs to do more to convince foreign investors it is worth the gamble. Thailand has been successful at convincing foreign investors in other industries to choose Thailand, and has shown a willingness to develop the transport and infrastructure facilities companies require to locate a

Some commentators feel the work ethic of Indians, often working over 10 hours a day at their jobs, and their entrepreneurial spirit has helped to fuel that country’s IT success story. Thailand also has plenty of hard workers and entrepreneurs, but its education system has been criticised for teaching children to remember and repeat, not think. Fostering creativity means teaching children to solve problems and think for themselves, which Thai educational administrators won’t be able to change overnight. Indian IT firms also came about at an advantageous time, as previously companies used to hire talented software professionals to move to the country where the company was founded to work. But this was costly, involved moving people to different cultures and work environments, and did not guarantee the diverse skills set needed for an IT company. Indian software firms solved all these problems by letting Western firms outsource them to management in India, while keeping their cost advantages. If Thailand wants to strictly follow India’s example, it needs to beef up its technical education, especially in maths and science. Thailand needs to build more IT parks where companies can import goods duty-free and receive a corporate tax exemption for the first five years of operation. The government provides a one-stop shop for all the bureaucracy that needs to be completed for work at these parks, freeing up existing bottlenecks, as well as establishing export processing zones.

Thai-Norwegian Business Review

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High Hopes as Norway-Myanmar Business Council Opens its Doors By Eric Baker

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ompanies, investors, dignitaries and stakeholders gathered in Yangon on February 24 to celebrate the opening of the Norway-Myanmar Business Council, which is expected to facilitate investment and partnerships between the two countries. The ceremony took place at the residence of H.E. the Norwegian Ambassador to Myanmar, Ms Ann Ollestad, and Daw Khine Khine Nwe summed up the feelings of most of the attendees nicely. Daw Khine Khine Nwe, also known as Rosaline, is the joint secretary-general of the Republic of Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry, and there was a hushed melodramatic overtone as she spoke about what this council and Norwegian investors mean to her compatriots. “We feel a piece of Norway is already in Myanmar with Telenor,” she said. “But we need several pieces more, as Telenor is not enough. I’m very encouraged to learn that Telenor has just published a guidebook on anti-corruption and distributed it throughout Myanmar. We want to invite big businesses from Norway to bring your principles and standards to come here and take root. We need someone to guide us, much like a baby, through these growing pains.

NORWAY-MYANMAR BUSINESS COUNCIL “We are trying to comply with international standards. And if you want to work with us, please respect our principles as well. We want to work with you, and with your assistance, we believe we can grow sustainably, and I guarantee you it will not be at the expense of your commercial viability.

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“Over 99% of Myanmar businesses are small and mediumsized enterprises. Since the economy opened up, foreign investment has doubled every year, standing at 7 billion USD at last count. So obviously there is ample room for us to work together.” Ola Nicolai Borge, a partner at Grant Thornton in Yangon, will initially head up the council, which is a sub-chapter of the Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce and supported by the Norwegian Embassy in Myanmar and Innovation Norway. “The council will serve as a door opener, offering web resources, introductions to ministry officials, and hosting regular meetings and training,” said Mr Borge. “Norwegian companies already situated in Myanmar such as Telenor, Eltek and Jotun have bought in to the concept, and we hope to be of service to Norwegian investors looking to expand here. We also aim to be an interface between the business society and the community. “Norwegian companies have a very high standing in the world, so the Myanmar government is expecting the companies we bring in will have a squeaky clean image. Saying you’re from Norway is still a good card to hold up as it means you’re reliable, and we’ve had good feedback so far. “The challenge for Norwegian companies looking to move here is they don’t understand how different doing business in this environment can be from Norway. This is especially true if you don’t have someone to relate to, so the council will serve as a sounding board and place to exchange ideas. We also want to host some networking events, though we don’t want to put too much pressure on the council immediately as Myanmar still faces several obstacles in building up the country and we are only a non-profit. On the other hand, if it wasn’t a challenge, there wouldn’t be a place for us here.” Mr Borge said he expects there to be a new law regarding chambers of commerce in Myanmar soon.

Three strong women on the rise: UMFCCI’s Daw Khine Khine Nwe, TNCC Chairwoman Vibeke Leirvåg and H.E. Ambassador Ann Ollestad. Photo: Axel Blom/Innovation Norway

Daw Khine Khine Nwe emphasised that the way Norwegian companies do business is almost as important as the investment they bring to the country. “Companies in Myanmar don’t want to give up the opportunity to work with an industry leader like Telenor, so they have to follow Telenor’s principles,” she said. “Telenor knows this, so it can use its long reach to influence the culture here. The way it conducts itself here can have a multiplier effect on attitudes. Other businesses will want to match it, and it will become a competition about quality, not quantity. “We all know it takes time to change attitudes, but there are ways we can do it. People work to make money, but responsible business practices show how to profit sustainably. There was a time when we were kept in the dark. People opened small businesses just to survive. “But now times have changed. People are capable to do things now with business that no one ever dreamed

of before. The locals were not happy with the way business operated before, such as a lack of concern for the environment in the extractive industries, and a lack of concern for workplace standards in labour-intensive industries. Now there is an opportunity to change the rules. “We need big companies to come in and help us out with funding. We cannot transform from small businesses to big companies overnight. And we also need to learn to compete as a region, and now amongst each other. ASEAN small businesses should unite and grow together if we are going to compete with foreign businesses. “I would also like to thank Axel Blom from Innovation Norway, whom I met before an ambassador was named to Myanmar, for coming here and working with us, bringing in a delegation of businesses interested in investing here. He started the dialogue that has helped build this successful relationship.”

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NTGM Provides an Umbrella of Support for Potential Investors in Myanmar By Eric Baker

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orwegian companies looking to invest overseas likely know the advice well at this point. But for potential investors in Myanmar, it is hard to grasp its significance without visiting the place. “You have to be here for the long term,” said Thorstein Svendsen, managing director of Nordic Technology Group Myanmar (NTGM). “You have to be willing to spend initially as well. The country has power blackouts frequently, so every company has a generator. There are also challenges with the banking system, internet and telecommunications services, so you need to have a problem-solver attitude if you come to Myanmar now. “There was a rush to enter the market when Myanmar first opened up in 2011, but a lot of companies went under because they got overwhelmed by the costs in the beginning. Rents went up tenfold in a matter of a few years. People got gouged because everyone wants to get theirs from the start. There are no get rich quick schemes for foreigners.” In addition to NTGM, Mr Svendsen runs Golden Valley Realty and the Myanmar branch of iTecSolutions, the Singapore company he founded dealing with onshore and offshore services. The idea behind these companies is to build up an umbrella of services that Nordic firms, and eventually local companies, can turn to in the energy solutions, logistics, telecommunications and property fields. Mr Svendsen is also one of the co-founders of the NorwayMyanmar Business Council, a precursor to a chamber of commerce that is meant to offer advice and networking for potential Norwegian investors considering setting up shop in the country. The council opened on February 24, and it also hopes to promote the clusters of excellence model that has worked so well in Norway.

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“The objective is as we add partners, we get stronger by working together,” he said. “We can offer warehousing, office space, personnel, and we can front separate companies. The goal is to be something of a one-stop shop. “Sometimes the advice may be a company should not expand to Myanmar, but that is valuable too, as it saves time and money.”

“Norwegian companies are expected to behave in a responsible manner and do things completely in accordance with rules, regulations and the highest ethical standards”

“Thanks to Norway’s long-term engagement in Myanmar, Norway’s reputation in the country is almost pristine. “From Norway” is automatically considered of the highest standard by both the government and private enterprises. Such high reputation carries with it responsibilities for Norwegian companies as well; they are expected to behave in a responsible manner and do things completely in accordance with rules, regulations and the highest ethical standards,” Mr Svendsen reiterated. Mr Svendsen arrived in Myanmar after the country opened up in 2011 following 34 years of working in the oil and gas industry on the Norwegian continental shelf, Iran, Turkmenistan, UAE, Brazil and Singapore. Hailing from Kristiansand, Norway, he started off as rig officer with Elf Aquitaine on the Frigg Field in 1977 and was over the following years holding various positions in the offshore construction and service sector, before staring for Hydro (later Statoil), as a chemical process engineer

and advancing to handle large scale projects, such as bi-annual shutdowns for the Greater Oseberg Area, one of Norway largest oil and gas fields. He moved to onshore and offshore distribution in Iran, amongst other as the official distributor for Aker Solutions, until sanctions hit the industry there, bouncing around until he landed in Singapore and started his company to work on separation, building supervision, compliance and maintenance systems, as well as high-end personnel supply. But something clicked when he first visited Myanmar. “I could see that it was different here,” he said. “I got to know ministers and people in the ministry, what the work environment is like and who the potential local partners are. It takes quite a bit of time, and with this council we want to smooth out the learning curve.

NTGM Managing Director Thorstein Svendsen. Photo: Eric Baker

“Yes, I like the people here, as they are friendly even if they don’t have much. But most importantly there is a business case to be here, for us and for many others. Much of what is here is not benefitting the Burmese people at the moment and that has to change. A tireless search for the right local partners was fruitless, and I realised I needed to start new purpose made companies that could handle the various needs as separate business cases for ourselves, our partners and clients. At the moment the Nordic Technology Group Myanmar (NTGM Ltd) consists of Nordic Tele Services Ltd, Nordic Oilfield Services Ltd, Nordic Allcargo Logistics Ltd, Nordic Energy Group Ltd and Golden Valley Group Ltd.

“The biggest roadblock to securing more work the Norwegian way is more training. There is lots of work to be done but very little training available here. You could bring in foreign expertise, but we feel using locals makes for a better business case. It pays off to train them in the long run, but you have to have the money for the training. “For example, we had work that required a forklift driver. The problem is there is no certification for forklift driving in the whole country, so we had to send workers to Singapore for training. Often times the smallest, simplest spare part can take forever to replace, so this is an obstacle to productivity. Continued on page 50

Thai-Norwegian Business Review

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Internet for All Requires Collaboration and Tailoring By Sigve Brekke

Executive Vice President and Head of Telenor Group in Asia

I

mproved access and digital connectivity can extend healthcare, education and banking services to those who stand to benefit the most. But realizing the promise requires deep customer insight, tailored services and collaboration across the mobile ecosystem.

When people hear “internet,” it’s likely that their first thoughts are of networks, websites, shopping, games, social media, chatting, photos, videos, news and so forth. For those of us who have had the benefit of growing up with the internet, we may see it as a conglomeration of digital products which educate and entertain, which supplement our already comfortable lives with convenience and connections. But for the multitudes who are only now beginning to access the internet, it’s an entirely different experience. In the rural and lower income communities of developing markets like India, Bangladesh and Myanmar, where the basic daily necessities are not always met, the internet is an unknown entity or something viewed with great scepticism. When people are struggling to feed their families, enrol their children in school or waiting hours at banks to transfer money to their relatives, their first thoughts may not be, “If only we had an internet connection.” The great irony here is that for them, that’s exactly what they need. The internet could be more valuable and integral to their well-being than their more moneyed, connected counterparts. Particularly via mobile, which is the only feasible way most of these communities will be able to get online, the internet is so much more than websites and social networks. Mobile banking services via mobile internet free up time and resources in waiting and traveling to banks to cash their small paychecks. Health advice and childbirth registration via mobile for people whose villages do not have hospitals, clinics, or doctors. Educational information or even connections with real teachers who can conduct lessons remotely. Daily crop price information or weather alerts for farmers. It goes on and on. And still too few people in the very communities most in need of such

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internet services actually want them, let alone know they exist. We know that increasing internet connectivity has a direct positive effect on GDP growth, creating jobs and new businesses. Studies show that 10% increase in increase connectivity stimulates GDP and new business creation by 1 percentage point or more. The efficiency gains the mobile ecosystem can bring to sectors like healthcare, education and financial services come on top of that, as well as the significant potential to use digital solutions delivered over mobile to drive “maximum governance with minimum government”. A recent Deloitte report shows a potential of lifting 160 million people out of poverty – just by connecting them.

We know that increasing internet connectivity has a direct positive effect on GDP growth, creating jobs and new businesses. Internet penetration is increasing in most of our Asian markets. Median data usage among our Thai and Malaysian subscribers more than quadrupled over the past year, and Indian consumers are not far behind in terms of data consumption. Serving the swelling middle classes of South Asia and South-East Asia with entertainment and socially driven internet services is a business opportunity in itself. But the long-term, transformative impact on society lies elsewhere. It is when low-income, low-information populations see value in and spend money on going online, that the internet can truly drive positive change. At Telenor Group, we’ve witnessed connecting mass market consumers from scratch. Entering Bangladesh 18 years ago as an experiment, we built a mobile infrastructure and a mobile industry in country that was largely unconnected in a time when mobile phones were still viewed as a luxury

even in Europe. Today we serve 50 million customers through Grameenphone, and 3G is spreading fast. That experience is now repeated in fast-forward in Myanmar, where we’ve added 2 million subscribers in a few weeks and deliver both voice and data services to a country largely cut off from the world over the past 60 years. Transformation in Action: Graphs showing how data is overtaking voice on mobile networks. Source: © The Economist

Continued on page 44

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Myanmar Goes Green: Encouraging Sustainability during Massive Growth Spurts By Eric Baker

M

The centre and GEGG Myanmar can be seen as part of the ASEAN Institute for Green Economy that was formulated in the Nay Pyi Taw Declaration, ratified in 2014. That declaration aimed to “help conceptualise and support paradigm change, from the current model of business as usual, pollute now and clean up later, to a smart, resilient, equitable paradigm that will generate more green employment, spur new economic development, and increase the standard of living for ASEAN people.”

yanmar is betting that cooperation on green growth in ASEAN can make economies in the region more sustainable. It established the Green Economy Green Growth (GEGG) Myanmar Association in 2012 with the goal of making the ASEAN 2020 Vision of a clean and sustainable region a reality.

GEGG Myanmar started this effort by receiving a government grant of three acres on which to construct two buildings that would signify the creation of the Center of Excellence for Greening. The objective of the centre is to promote and facilitate transformational green technologies and management practices that demonstrate, increase awareness, provide capacitybuilding and training, foster translational research, and catalyse innovative national and international cooperation. The centre is located in the 33-acre campus of the Ministry of Science and Technology Myanmar, in the Department of Scientific & Technological Research. The two buildings include designs that utilise and maximise smart glass, renewable energy, solar off-grid LED lighting, urban ecosystem landscaping, rainwater harvesting, waste stream collection, recycling and reuse. “The vision is that we have scholars throughout ASEAN

“The vision is that we have scholars throughout ASEAN coming to work here and cooperate on green growth solutions.”

coming to work here and cooperate on green growth solutions,” said U Kyaw Lwin Hla, executive director of the non-profit GEGG Myanmar. “The enthusiasm from all the parties involved in this process has really convinced

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Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce

GEGG’s Executive Director U Kyaw Lwin Hla. Photo: Eric Baker

us that this is the appropriate time to work on this centre. Government support, including from President U Thein Sein, has been astounding. “I think Myanmar has the potential to do important work on green growth because of the all the different climatic zones represented in the country, from tropical jungle to arid high plateau country to the foothills of the Himalayas. A lot of important strategies can be tested in just those areas, and if experts from other countries in the region come here to work, we could create a blueprint for much of the world.” The design of the buildings is representative of the mindset the centre looks to espouse. The exterior was made from repurposed pyinkado, a deep red hardwood similar to teak. A traditional outdoor pavilion was built on the premises as well with seating that will allow presentations. “The pavilion utilises traditional Burmese architecture, with a high ceiling and open-air design, allowing air to flow through and heat to rise to the top,” said U Kyaw Lwin Hla.

This vision calls for the creation of a Green Technology Park in Myanmar, use of traditional Myanmar knowledge in living in harmony with nature, and greener materials and management practices. As Norwegian companies and the government generously contributed to the development of the centre, it hosted a visit from Their Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja on December 2, 2014, in connection with the State Visit from Norway shortly after it was built. Two marble plaques were placed to commemorate the occasion.

Entrance to the ASEAN Center of Excellence for Greening (CoE-G) in Yangon. Photo: Eric Baker

Norwegian companies contributed know-how and equipment to a solar demonstrator installed at GEGG that was unveiled during the visit of Their Majesties. DNV-GL had the overall responsibility for coordination and project management, Elkem Solar provided solar panels, Eltek Power provided converter/inverter and energy storage equipment, and solar-based air conditioners were provided by Multiconsult.

The idea is to let the solar demonstrator form a test platform for commercially viable rural electricification microgrids consisting of various types of power based on what sources are locally available. These microgrids can be linked together in mesogrids consisting of several microgrids, which can be connected to the national electrical grid in the future.

Continued on page 44

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ICH Keeps Norwegian Hydropower Competency Sharp By Eric Baker

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non-profit organisation in Norway has figured out how the country can retain its expertise in hydropower despite most of the capacity there being utilised.

Classes run for one to three weeks either in Norway or several areas of regional focus, and applicants should have a degree in relevant to hydropower, a minimum of five years working experience, and proficiency in English language.

The International Centre for Hydropower (ICH) offers courses, workshops and training for hydropower professionals around the world, educating 31,000 personnel from 780 countries since 1997. The organisation takes advantage of a vast network of hydrowater power workers from around the globe and Norway to provide courses on how to develop and sustain hydropower facilities.

The project started humbly, only running one course per year, but then the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), a specialised directorate under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that provides technical advisory services, quality assurance, grant administration and communication, saw that what ICH was doing is in line with what it wants to do, said Mr Solberg. NORAD teamed up with ICH and together we now offer a full platform of courses concerning every aspect of hydropower, he said. The workshops range from hydropower development and management, finance and project economy, and turbine maintenance to dam safety inspection, sediment control, regional power trading, social impact assessment, revenue protection management and vandalism, negotiation techniques, conflict management, and hydropower exports.

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ICH’s vast network includes hydropower professionals from many countries, and Thailand is no exception. “Thailand is very highly developed in the energy sector, but we often use experts from the country for our presentations, and we use Bangkok as a hub for some of our regional workshops,” he said. “Regional negotiations often take place in hub cities like this, so these workshops present a real-world environment for our participants.”

ICH started in the 1990s as an offshoot of the technical university in Trondheim because a hydropower professor Dagfinn Lysne there saw it as an opportunity for the country to keep its know-how even as Norway reached the end of an era for water hydropower projects, said Tom Solberg, managing director of ICH. “Norway has a lot of competence in hydropower, and this was a way to help people in other countries and help our country,” he said. “The professor contacted powerproducing and supplying companies, consultancies, academics and government agencies about supporting this centre.”

rest of the staff when they return, and this is exactly the type of multiplier effect for knowledge that NORAD and ICH want.”

Nubia Madariaga from Honduras is jumping for joy at the Briksdal Glacier in Norway. Photo: Tom Solberg, ICH

“As much as is possible, we try to arrange training courses with a regional approach,” said Mr Solberg. “We try to focus on the participants’ countries and the specific challenges hydropower encounters in those regions.” “For example, in the Himalayas controlling silt, sand and sediment at dams is a major problem, especially in the rainy season, so one of our annual clinics is a follow-up on this issue. In addition we just hadare planning a power trade workshop with participants from Bhutan, Nepal and India. “Hydropower personnel have said they find it helpful to learn about experiences in other regional countries facing the same issues, and this feeds into the type of education we are trying to foster. In many cases, participants from small organisations that could only afford to send one employee to a workshop have to give half-day mini-seminars to the

“Norway has a lot of competence in hydropower, and this was a way to help people in other countries and help our country” “ICH has done a lot of work in Myanmar and with Burmese representatives lately. In May we have another workshop in Myanmar on hydropower and the environment, which is following up on a similar course there last year. We do not condone just any hydropower project; it has to be sustainable and take the environment into consideration. In some instances you may have displaced people, and there are certain international protocols for how you deal with moving inhabitants.” The non-profit collaborates with UNESCO as well as Norway’s Petroleum and Energy Ministry and many Norwegian embassies. ICH has a skeleton staff of only five, but it draws on a network of hundreds of experts to put together training seminars that can focus on certain regions.

Participants and resource persons for course in Dam Safety Inspection in Laos, during a Technical Tour. Photo: ICH

“We had a workshop in Manila last this year on hydropower economy and financing with participants from Bhutan, Nepal, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia and Myanmar,” said Mr Solberg. “The feedback we got was this was a fantastic collaboration with development banks, including ADB and IFC, which helped to answer many of participants’ questions. We In another event we had two teams each negotiate a project development agreement, a PDA, with some of the development banks on hand to guide them.” One reason ICH maintains its edge as a non-profit is it’s a member organisation. These members can come from power producers, suppliers, universities, government ministries — anyone associated with hydropower. In addition to nominal fees, members offers support in other ways such as contributing logistics assistance and providing access to professionals with a high level of expertise, which helps to grow ICH’s vast network. Membership also includes discounts to workshops and guaranteed seats to different trainings. NORAD sponsors the workshop participation fee for certain organisations that meet their criteria, though all participants must cover their own travel costs. Interested applicants must sign up for ICH workshops at its website, www.ich.no. Though water hydropower makes up one-sixth of the world’s power supply today, ICH believes there is massive undeveloped hydropower potential in several parts of the world. It is committed to helping build hydropower capacity through knowledge and experiential learning.

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Membership application form

Become a member of Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce Being involved in business dealings between Thailand and Norway, you have constant needs for commercial contacts, information and networking. The Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce can be one of your valuable links in these matters. In a business forum the members can interact, gather and exchange information through a variety of functions and activities. The Chamber organises business related events from Breakfast Meetings covering current business affairs, to topical Business Seminars and Dinner Events featuring guest speakers. The members can get helpful assistance from our Chamber office located in central Bangkok. The Chamber is co-located with Innovation Norway and cooperates closely with them at the Norwegian Business Centre. The Chamber has a good relationship with the Royal Norwegian Embassy, and several Chamber members also offer valuable support in many key business areas.

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On 29 January 2015, Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce invited members and their customers, friends and staff for the annual Seafood under the Stars. This year extra seafood had been flown in and the staff from Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel did everything in their might to make this an event to remember.

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Thank you to everyone who attended and special thanks to the host, H.E. Ambassador Kjetil Paulsen and to Norwegian Seafood Council who generously co-sponsored seafood flown in from Norway.

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Jabr Al-Azeeby: Dubai’s Man in Bangkok at Highflying Emirates By Christopher Caillavet

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stroll through the Emirates office in central Bangkok is an uplifting experience. Decked out like a fancy departure lounge, the sparkling lobby gives way to a cheery space overseen by Jabr Al-Azeeby, the area manager for Thailand and Indochina at the Middle East’s biggest airline.

The youthful Mr Al-Azeeby is a good fit for the still-growing carrier, which continues to add capacity at its thriving Thai operation. On the other side of the world, Emirates recently introduced service from Oslo to Dubai.

Q: You’ve essentially doubled capacity in Thailand in just a few years. What’s driving that growth? A: Demand for Thailand from a lot of regions in the world has grown, especially in Europe and the Middle East. Definitely the situation of last year, the recovery was very fast, with people again putting their trust in Thailand for stability and peace. And as we know, in 2013-14, Thailand was the number one destination for leisure in the world. So anyone wanting to visit Thailand, we serve it really well.

Mr Al-Azeeby sat down with the Business Review to discuss all things Emirates. Q: What are the biggest markets for Emirates in Southeast Asia? A: Thailand would definitely be one of them. We have grown our capacity here by around 100% in the past two years. Growing from four flights a day between Dubai and Bangkok to six flights a day, in addition to a direct flight from Phuket. So we serve the South also, direct from Dubai. In addition to that, we fly to Hong Kong, direct flights from Bangkok, once a day, and once a day to Sydney, Australia, and Christchurch, New Zealand.

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Q: Looking beyond Asia, what is the Emirates strategy for Europe and the Americas? A: We’re expanding on a yearly basis in the East and the West. We just started Oslo last year, expanding in Europe, and also in the U.S. and Asia. So we have a balance of East and West, with Dubai in the centre as the hub.

Founded in 1985, Emirates saw its fortunes rise quickly as Dubai grew into a world-beating financial hub and tourist draw. Originating with a handful of leased planes, the airline today boasts a young fleet of 226 jets. In 2013, Emirates announced the biggest-ever order for aircraft, committing to the purchase of 150 Boeing 777s and 50 Airbus A380s. The group operates 3,000 flights a week to 140 destinations across six continents. Emirates has served Bangkok since 1990. For the last two and a half years, Mr Al-Azeeby has managed the local office, which looks after the airline’s interests in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. This is the Dubai native’s third posting with Emirates after previous stints in Uganda and Cyprus.

airlines working with it, which is Dubai Al Maktoum International Airport [40 kilometres from Dubai International]. So, when Al Maktoum finishes all its phases, it will be the biggest international airport in the world, accommodating 160 million passengers a year. The goal is to have that airport fully fledged and working by 2020 for the World Expo in Dubai.

Emirates’ Jabr Al-Azeeby, Area Manager for Thailand and Indochina. Photo: Emirates

Q: Is Emirates happy with Suvarnabhumi airport and the facilities there? A: We are working together with Suvarnabhumi airport to make sure that we and the airport are giving a smooth and comfortable experience for our passengers. They are very cooperative when it comes to suggestions and working together; so, yes is the answer. Q: Are their concerns that your hub airport in Dubai could grow too big and unwieldy as Emirates adds capacity? A: Currently Dubai airport is actually working on the fourth concourse, which will be over within this year. That will increase capacity by 10 million passengers a year. We’re talking about Dubai International Airport. We have another airport that’s already operational, and a lot of

Emirates Airbus A380 soaring on one of it’s many flights to Thailand. Photo: Emirates

Growing from four flights a day between Dubai and Bangkok to six flights a day, with extensions to Hong Kong, Sydney and Christchurch.

Q: Has the recent plunge in oil prices made a difference at the airline? A: Fuel is the highest operating cost of any airline. Most airlines have been suffering this for years. Now the fuel cost looks more acceptable, but nobody knows what the future is, coming up. Q: The last year has seen several high-profile aviation disasters, including in this region. What steps is Emirates taking to maintain its excellent safety record?

A: Safety is our first priority. No risk is taken, ever, when it comes to safety. The investment we put into our aircraft is part of that, keeping our aircraft as new as possible and making sure the latest technologies are on board. Q: Emirates uses both Airbus and Boeing airliners? A: We have a mix of aircraft, starting from the Airbus 330 and going up to the Airbus 380, and we have the Boeing 777. We are the biggest client for Boeing for the 777. Same thing with the 380, we are the biggest client for the Airbus 380. Q: What does the immediate future hold for Emirates? A: We start our new financial year on the first of April, so we are in the process of planning next year. Hopefully in the next few months you’ll see the press with some of our plans for 2015-16. Talking about Thailand, I can say that business looks stable. The confidence is back. I think the whole world has confidence that Thailand’s stability will continue, and that’s why we see a very high seat factor on our flights. In the past three or four months, 85%-plus. We wish continued stability for Thailand, because that is good for the country and good for our business.

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Continued from page 33

Continued from page 31

What DNV-GL is proposing, a mesogrid or intermediate grid, intends to provide power to 500 to 2,000 households in Myanmar by scaling up from microgrids using renewable energy, low-water power systems close to consumption areas. The company envisions mesogrids will accelerate development of sustainable power systems and quicken electrification for the 1.3 billion people in the world still living without power, according to the International Energy Agency. Mesogrids could benefit another billion people living with weak power supplies and complement macro-power systems vulnerable to climate change disruption, notably water risk.

The opportunity of connecting everyone – through the mobile phone, to the internet – is one few openly contest, but one that silently meets many barriers. In broad areas of India, even if we could provide the Internet for free, the consumers that would benefit the most have a hard time understanding what it is and why it matters to them. Add to it that they may have limited literacy and not be comfortable in the on-screen language. Bringing Internet for All requires concerted efforts from across the mobile ecosystem, including government and regulators. The Digital India ambition sets the bar and a direction, and needs policy and practice to follow suit.

DNV-GL’s Renewable Energy Mesogrid Accelerator (REMOGRID) joint industry project will attempt to speed up commercialisation of these mesogrids through a flexible approach that uses whatever renewable energy is appropriate to the community. The company believes establishing standards, protocols and models for mesogrids will open a new market segment, where the mesogrid model will demonstrate the value of a flexible “plug-and-play” architecture evolving with demand, technologies and costs, reducing the risks of path dependence and stranded assets affecting conventional systems.

First of all, we must enable use. Providing customised services on affordable devices tailored to a consumer’s purchasing power and daily use - like free data for use of Wikipedia, or a free farming application service, is one approach we are taking. We have seen enormous success in our other internet markets in emerging Asia and this has been on the back of pre-paid data services. Like so many consumer industries in India, we rely on sachet marketing and extreme distribution capabilities, but also on an ability to operate our networks with efficiency. It’s a business model type that we develop and customize for our local markets in Asia – and it works.

It is partnering with GEGG in Myanmar to support the project, and planning, site identification, design, approvals and construction are ongoing through October. The mesogrid is scheduled to start operation in December 2015, coinciding with a global climate agreement slated in Paris. Qualified partners are invited to contribute capital, expertise, generation materials, storage materials, electronics systems, cables, operations assistance, such as billing and customer management, design and installation services, and monitoring and evaluation. Firms from Myanmar and Norway will be given preference because the project is supported by the Norwegian government. However, firms from elsewhere with compelling complementary technology are encouraged to apply. The cost estimate for the planning phase is USD 160,000, or about USD 20,000 per partner, while the cost for construction and initial operation is projected at USD 2 million. Partners can look forward to finding new sources of value in mesogrid power flows and services, refining or innovating products in an integrated environment, developing unique technical and commercial insights through hands-on experience, establishing a strong position in a new market segment, and building a sustainable power supply. DNV-GL believes if the project is successful, more opportunities for mesogrids will follow from large-scale electrification of heat and transport to reduce carbon emissions.

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Call +352 43 88 77 77 to find out more about our service

Once we’ve established a way to make the internet accessible to the masses, we need to give reasons to use. Though not strictly speaking a daily necessity, Facebook and chat apps like WhatsApp are becoming more widely known and highly popular among all levels of customers – whether a rickshaw puller, a local banker or a vegetable vendor. Zero-rating social communications services to let customers experience this enhanced connectivity first-hand is a way to educate them also about other opportunities of the mobile internet. If the most digitally inexperienced become acquainted with such services, the value they see in being connected to the internet will grow, and they’ll open up to other relevant internet services we can offer their communities.

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Beyond devices and prices, regulatory environments, local and regional conflict areas, geography, literacy, internet scepticism and business models all play large roles in how quickly and affordably internet access can be rolled out. These factors vary in different markets and all ecosystem players, including regulators and government, have to work together to address challenges and offer tailored solutions that meet their needs. As one of the leading service providers in the world, our vision is to empower people by providing affordable Internet access to all. Across our six Asian markets we work to ensure that even those living in the most remote corners of our markets, can get connected. This is why we came to Asia 18 years ago, and this is why we are staying.

Moving abroad can be very complicated. There are many things to consider, including the requirements of the different regulatory regimes to which cross-border wealth planning is subject. Let us guide you through the legislative labyrinth, and help you avoid unnecessary, timeconsuming paperwork, as well as any unwelcome (and often expensive) surprises along the way. No matter where life takes you, Nordea’s in-house wealth-planners and their external network of experts can ensure that you are well prepared to meet the challenges that moving abroad brings. Visit us at www.nordea.lu/WP, call +65 6597 1083, or e-mail haavard.farstad@nordea.sg

Making it possible Nordea Bank S.A, Singapore Branch is part of Nordea Group, the leading financial services group in the Nordic and Baltic Sea regions. Some products and services may, due to local regulations, not be available to individuals resident in certain countries and their availability may depend, among other things, on the investment risk profile of persons in receipt of this publication or on any legislation to which they are subject. Nothing in this publication should be construed as an offer, or the solicitation of an offer, to purchase, subscribe to or sell any investment or product, or to engage in any other transaction or provide any kind of financial or banking service in any jurisdiction where Nordea Bank S.A., Singapore Branch or any of its affiliates do not have the necessary licence. Published by Nordea Bank S.A., R.C.S. Luxembourg No. B 14.157 on behalf of Nordea Bank S.A., Singapore Branch, 3 Anson Rd #20-01, Springleaf Tower, Singapore 079909. www.nordeaprivatebanking.com subject to the supervision of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (www.mas.gov.sg).

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Kill Bill: Thai Inheritance Tax Bill Still Inconclusive By Eric Baker

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he jury is still out on the much anticipated inheritance tax bill that seeks to impose a 10% levy on bequests of more than Baht 50 million, after the National Legislative Assembly’s committee reached no conclusion in the second reading on February 9th.

The proposed inheritance tax came as a surprise to many wealthy Thais who supported the coup d’etat last year. These wealth redistribution policies would normally be more associated with the grass roots populist policies of previously elected governments. For most of its history, the inheritance tax yield has been negative. The losses to the economy, as people shuffle round their finances in order to avoid it, are greater than the revenue it brings in. People will hire even more expensive financial planners, create tax-avoiding trusts, shift their assets abroad or simply spend it. There might have been some justification for it in the past when so much wealth was simply inherited, but the “rich” of today are mostly ordinary people who have worked hard to build their own businesses and much of that wealth has trickled down to the masses, making everyone better off. Unfortunately, class warfare rhetoric has sadly overwhelmed the lessons from abroad about the ineffectiveness of inheritance and estate taxes. Short-term expediency has replaced tax policies that promote long-run growth. According to a recent research by the Thailand Future Foundation, only 13 out of 45 countries have inheritance tax. Twelve countries that used to collect such taxes have now abolished them, namely Singapore, Australia, Norway and Canada. On average inheritance tax in the OECD countries, only make up 0.1% of governments’ total revenue in 2011. Not surprisingly, many countries have given up on these taxes due to its low yield. Moreover, the top bracket for personal income tax in Thailand is already quite high at 35% vs 20% and 15% in Singapore and Hong Kong respectively and if the current administration really goes ahead and try to tax people on

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their inheritance windfall at the same high rates as their wage income, the tax base would shrink dramatically and little revenue would be raised. In addition, inheritances are often an important source of capital for small and medium-size businesses in Thailand. An inheritance tax risks serving as an additional corporate tax. A general rule for efficient taxation is for governments to tread lightly on mobile tax bases, and inheritance and capital gains are some of the most mobile. Capital is highly mobile across borders, which has prompted nearly every country in recent decades to cut tax rates on corporations, wealth, estates, dividends, capital gains, and withholding taxes on cross-border investment flows.

A general rule for efficient taxation is for governments to tread lightly on mobile tax bases The details about inheritance tax are a bit vague right now but here are a few tips you may want to consider: 1. Make a gift. You may be able to beat inheritance tax by giving away some of your assets to your wife and kids, while you are still alive. But inheritance and gift taxes usually come out together. It remains to be seen how things will play out in Thailand. Mind you, it is advisable to keep the primary residence in your name until the day you die. You don’t want to be kicked out of your own home in case your kids become ungrateful. 2. Corporatise your assets. If you own a company, it may make sense to sweep your fixed assets into the company’s name and divvy up shares to your wife and kids. In this way, when you die, the assets are “already” in the company. There is no need to transfer anything to the beneficiaries since they are already shareholders. I suspect the Revenue Department will go after tangible assets like land and

properties first for inheritance tax. Shares in private companies will probably be off their radar screens for now. 3. Offshore Trust. Setting up a trust to hold offshore investments and properties will mean that these assets are no longer part of your estate and will not be subject to inheritance tax. However, rules around trusts are complicated so you must take advice from a financial planner expert. 4. Buy life insurance. If you take out a life insurance policy, it won’t reduce the amount of inheritance tax. But the payout may make it easier for your surviving family to pay the tax bill. It could mean that they are able to prevent the family home from being sold. But if you do this, make sure the life insurance payout goes into a trust – if you don’t it will make your estate bigger and it will have to pay more tax. Apart from the tax angle, an inheritance plan has several elements. They include: a will, assignment of power of attorney and a living will or health-care proxy (medical power of attorney). Taking inventory of your assets is a good place to start. Your assets include your investments, retirement savings, insurance policies, and real estate or business interests. Ask yourself three questions: Whom do you want to inherit your assets? Whom do you want handling your financial affairs if you’re ever incapacitated? Whom do you want making medical decisions for you if you become unable to make them for yourself? Everybody needs a will. A will tells the world exactly where you want your assets distributed when you die. It’s also the best place to name guardians for your children. Dying without a will can be costly to your heirs and leaves you no

say over who gets your assets. Even if you have a trust, you still need a will to take care of any holdings outside of that trust when you die. Offshore trusts aren’t just for the wealthy. Trusts are legal mechanisms that let you put conditions on how and when your assets will be distributed upon your death. They also allow you to reduce your estate and gift taxes and to distribute assets to your heirs without the cost, delay and publicity of probate court, which administers wills. Some also offer greater protection of your assets from creditors and lawsuits. Lastly, discussing your inheritance plans with your heirs may prevent disputes or confusion. Inheritance can be a loaded issue. By being clear about your intentions, you help dispel potential conflicts after you’re gone. Teera Phutrakul CFP® Chairman Thai Financial Planners Association

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Member Visits As part of the Chamber’s efforts to get to know its members and to hear how the Chamber can assist them in their efforts in Thailand, Executive Director Thitikul Opdal, Director of Sales Anders Magnusson and Executive Secretary Nattamon Santiwutthimethee have visited members since the beginning of the year. The photos on this page are a result of the many visits that have taken place.


Continued from page 29

“Fortunately we’ve signed contracts for close to USD 20 million and we have a lot of new contracts coming in, so we’re able to keep our heads above water. Burmese companies cannot pay much and the government isn’t willing to spend yet, so we’re relying on foreign companies to this point.” Mr Svendsen said cultural differences also present a challenge to established Norwegian business principles. Safety and zero tolerance for corruption are not a part of the ethos in Myanmar, so it’s up to Norwegian companies to try and educate the locals, he said. “In Norway, you may have 20 to 30 companies bidding for each project,” said Mr Svendsen. “Here the challenge is figuring out if you can do the work, and if you can’t having the courage to turn down the work or ask for different

O PR FF-P IC ES LAN NO W

contract terms. Quite frankly, working here means going slower. But I like solving various problems, so work here suits me.” Doing business in Myanmar often means a permit can sit on a government bureaucrat’s desk for months, awaiting a “sweetener”, he said. In addition to trying to have regular contact with the government offices to develop a relationship, NTGM likes to remind them that they are hiring local workers and train them, conducting business in a sustainable manner without bribes. The Norwegian government has also been an early and fervent supporter of Myanmar once it agreed to reforms. “The Norwegian way is not to give in to corruption, because once you do that they know they’ve got you,” said Mr Svendsen. “We’ve found in some cases it is easier to apply for licences for every sector we want to be involved in so that we are not waiting forever for a paper to be pushed across an official’s desk. “I feel there are several other sectors here that can be developed besides oil and gas. Telecoms, construction work, the new industrial zones, fabrication work — these are all areas where there is significant demand now. Many more segments need overhauls, it is just a matter of whether they are prioritised. The government is still finalising the foreign investment acts in some areas. “The energy system has power leakage of 25-30% from the infrastructure to residences, so obviously there is work to be done there, in addition to the blackouts. It is still a cash society, as there were no ATMs here until a few years ago. “Innovation Norway has been a great help in creating the business council and supporting us, as it has been very pro-Myanmar from the start. “In addition to setting up for the long term and having money set aside for investment, I would recommend companies expand here that can find some immediate business, because it’s important to have some money coming while you manoeuvre around the barriers to entry.”

WWW.VNRESIDENCES.COM CONTACT US FOR AN GOOD OFFER MOBILE : +66 89 936 6741 (ENG/NOR) / OFFICE : +66 38 303 310 FAX : +66 38 252 548 / E-MAIL : SALES@VNRESIDENCES.COM


JFCCT Luncheon with the Prime Minister On 3 December 2014, Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce invited its members to participate in Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand (JFCCT) lunch with H.E. Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-Ocha on the topic of “Supporting a Competitive Economy in Thailand” at Bangkok’s Plaza Athenee Hotel. The event was organised to give the business community and investors an opportunity to hear first-hand, the government’s policies.


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MYO TDHEE

Thailand’s Economy at a Glance

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King Chulalongkorn, July 11, 1907

“ได้ถ่ายรูปตาแก่ตามปรกติของแกที่แต่ง นุ่งกางเกงแลเสื้อเชิ้ต เหน็บมีด, ใส่ตุ้มหู, สูบกล้อง, ใจแกดี อมยิ้มอมแย้มยืนให้ถ่าย” พระบาทสมเด็ จ พระจุ ล จอมเกล้ า เจ้ า อยู ่ ห ั ว 11 กรกฎาคม ค.ศ. 1907 138

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อ�ค�รต่�งๆ ในนอร์เวย์ใช้พลังง�นของประเทศ เพียงร้อยละ 37 และก่อให้เกิดก๊�ซเรือนกระจก น้อยกว่�ร้อยละ 5 ทั้งนี้เพร�ะมีก�รนำ�ไฟฟ้� พลังน้ม�ใช้ในระบบทำ�คว�มร้อนให้กับอ�ค�ร ในขณะที่อ�ค�รในยุโรปก่อให้เกิดก�ร ปล่อยก๊�ซเรือนกระจกถึงร้อยละ 40 หรือ ม�กกว่�นั้น

“…no Thai has ever travelled the route we took last night going north… we are on our way to North Cape which is really far away…”

Norway’s buildings consume only 37% of the country’s energy and generate less than 5% of its greenhouse gas emissions because hydroelectric power is used for central heating. In Europe buildings generate 40% or more of the greenhouse gas emissions.

King Chulalongkorn, July 9, 1907

“ทางที่มาตั้งแต่ทรอนด์เยมคืนนี้ นับว่าคนไทยยังไม่มีผู้ใดได้เคยมาถึงเลย มีคนไทยที่ได้เคยมาถึงทรอนด์เยมแล้ว สามคนเท่านั้น ระยะทางที่จะขึ้นไปจนถึง นอทเคปไกลมาก” พระบาทสมเด็ จ พระจุ ล จอมเกล้ า เจ้ า อยู ่ ห ั ว 9 กรกฎาคม ค.ศ. 1907

“…they say that their church design is ‘old Norwegian’ although it is very similar to the design of temples in Myanmar…”

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52

Some comparisons

53

Photo: King Chulalongkorn

Geography Geographic Area: TH 514,000 sq. km Geographic Area NO: 385,199 sq. km Highest peak TH: Doi Inthanon 2,565 m Highest peak NO: Galdhøpiggen 2,469 m Inland water areas TH: 2,230 km Inland water areas NO: 16,360 km Coastline TH: 3,219 km Coastline NO: 25,148 km

ตึกสูงระฟ้าริมน้ในกรุงออสโลคือการ ผสมผสานระหว่างรสนิยมในการออกแบบ สมัยใหม่กับความเคารพในประวัติศาสตร์ และวัฒนธรรมดั้งเดิม กรุงออสโลจึงกลาย เป็นแหล่งรวมงานออกแบบที่น่าตื่นตาตื่นใจ และสถาปัตยกรรมใหม่ๆ ที่กำาลังจะเกิดขึ้น อีกหลายสิบโครงการ The new waterfront skyline in Oslo mixes a healthy enthusiasm for modern design with a solid respect for its history and traditions. The city has become a haven for adventurous design, with dozens of new architectural projects underway.

2

25

54

นอร์เวย์เป็นหนึ่งในผู้ผลิตปลาแซลมอน แอตแลนติกชั้นนำา และหนึ่งในผู้ส่งออกอาหาร ทะเลรายใหญ่ที่สุดของโลก ด้วยแนวชายฝั่งที่ยาว เว้าแหว่งเป็นรอย ฟันเลื่อย โอบล้อมด้วยน้ทะเลใสสะอาด จึงเป็น สภาพแวดล้อมตามธรรมชาติที่ดีเยี่ยมสำาหรับ อุตสาหกรรมประมงแบบยั่งยืน

“We can converse with the King and Queen as if we were relatives…”

“The Queen is very beautiful and has a fine disposition rather like Princess Victoria… our relationship was informal…”

King Chulalongkorn, July 6, 1907

“ในการที่มาอยู่เมืองนี้ ช่างรู้สึกสบาย เสียจริงๆ เพราะทั้งเจ้าแผ่นดินแลพระมเหษี จะพูดจาเล่นหัวอะไรกับเราเหมือนดังกับ เปนญาติกันจริงๆ จะถามอะไรก็ถามกันได้ พูดจากันตรงๆ หมด”

Norway is one of the world’s leading producers of cold-water Atlantic salmon and one of the largest seafood exporters in the world. The country’s long and jagged coastline surrounded by fresh seawater provides excellent natural conditions for a sustainable fishing industry.

King Chulalongkorn, July 5, 1907

“กวีนก็งามมาก ดูเหมือนจะงามกว่าพี่ๆ ทั้งหมด อัชฌาไศรยก็ดีมากคล้าย ปรินเซสวิกตอเรีย อยู่ข้างจะกระดากๆ ในการรับแขกถึงบ่นออกมาว่าไม่ชอบรำาคาญ เจ้าแผ่นดินบอกว่า ต้องพูดกับคนนั้นคนนี้ ก็บ่นออดแอดเบื่อต่างๆ แต่กับพ่อนั้นสนิทสนม ต้อนรับพูดจาไม่มีกระดากกระเดื่องเลย”

พระบาทสมเด็ จ พระจุ ล จอมเกล้ า เจ้ า อยู ่ ห ั ว 6 กรกฎาคม ค.ศ. 1907

พระบาทสมเด็ จ พระจุ ล จอมเกล้ า เจ้ า อยู ่ ห ั ว 5 กรกฎาคม ค.ศ. 1907

หน้าถัดไป: การพัฒนาเทคโนโลยีอย่างต่อเนื่องนำาไปสู่ การปฏิวัติอุตสาหกรรมเพาะเลี้ยงปลาด้วย วิธีใหม่ ผ่านการตรวจสอบควบคุมคุณภาพ อย่างเข้มข้น การจำากัดจำานวน และเทคโนโลยี การเพาะเลี้ยงปลาในมหาสมุทรแบบยั่งยืน ทำาให้นอร์เวย์ยังเป็นผู้นำาในการส่งออก อาหารทะเลมาหลายทศวรรษ Next page: A continuous focus on technological development has led to revolutionary new methods for the fish farming industry. Through strict quality monitoring, quotas, and sustainable ocean farming technology, the country has remained a leader in seafood exports for decades. 72

73

194

195 Photo: King Chulalongkorn

“…as our ship turned around for the journey home… Prince Sommot proclaimed in Magadhi that “a new chapter in life had begun”…” King Chulalongkorn, July 12, 1907

“วันนี้นับว่าเปนวันขากลับ ถึงว่าวันข้างหลัง ยังมากกว่าวันข้างน่าที่ล่วงไปแล้วก็รู้สึกว่า เปนขากลับ มันขรึมๆ ในใจอยู่นั่นเอง โล่งว่ากระไรก็ไม่รู้ แปลว่าคิดถึงบ้านเท่านั้น” “วันนี้กรมขุนสมมตบอกศักราชตามธรรมเนียม ที่เคยบอกกันเมื่อบ่ายหัวเรือกลับ แต่บอกวิเศษขึ้นทบอกภาษามคธด้วย” พระบาทสมเด็ จ พระจุ ล จอมเกล้ า เจ้ า อยู ่ ห ั ว 12 กรกฎาคม ค.ศ. 1907

196

197 Photo: King Chulalongkorn

“…I greatly admire the Norwegians for building roads to areas where only a few people live…”

พระบาทสมเด็ จ พระจุ ล จอมเกล้ า เจ้ า อยู ่ ห ั ว 25 กรกฎาคม ค.ศ. 1907

27 Photo: King Chulalongkorn

200 Pages Collector’s Edition In Thai and English 64cm x 24cm Hard Cover Can be aquired exclusively through the Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce: Telephone: 02 650 8444 secretary@norcham.com One to nine books: THB 2,000 each plus VAT Ten or more books: THB 1,500 each plus VAT Available at the Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce

King Chulalongkorn, July 25, 1907

“น่าชมความพากเพียรในเรื่องตัดถนน ของเขาจริงๆ คนก็น้อย พื้นที่ก็ไม่มี ผลประโยชน์อะไรนอกจากหญ้าแลฟืน”

26

2

55

Demographics Population TH: 67.2 mill Population NO: 5.1 mill Population Bangkok (Metro): 14,565,547 Population Oslo (Metro): 1,502,604 Life expectancy M/F TH: 71/77 Life expectancy M/F NO: 79/83 Other bits and pieces Petrol/litre (95 E10) NOK: TH Petrol/litre (95 Octane) NOK: NO McDonald BigMac price NOK: TH McDonald BigMac price NOK: NO Sources:

7.28 15.19 16.81 40.00

-4

Mill

-2

0

2

4

Thai Consumer Price Index

Thai GDP Growth (%) 10.0

6

8.0

5

6.0

4 3

4.0

2

2.0

1

0.0 -4.0

0 -1 -2

Stock Exchange Index (SET) 1,800 1,600 1,400 1,200 1,000 800 600 400

Exchange Rates 7.00 6.50 5.50 5.00 4.50 4.00

Bilateral trade 2014

Manufacturing Index 2000=100

1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0

200 180 160 140 120

100 Basic Figures: BOI. Comparisons: Wikipedia. GDP/Capita and Thai Population: Wikipedia/IMF. Thai GDP and CPI: Bank of Thailand. Quarterly GDP: NESDB. SET: Stock Exchange of Thailand. Exchange Rate THB/NOK: OANDA. Manufacturing Production Index: Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce. Bilateral Trade: Statistics Norway. Petrol and BigMac prices as of 6 March 2015

THB/NOK

6.00

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

24

0

-2.0

King Chulalongkorn, July 24, 1907

“วัดนั้นทำ�ด้วยไม้ชำ�ฉ�ทั้งสิ้น แต่ได้สร้�งม�แล้วถึง ๘๐๐ ปีเศษ จนกร่อนหรอในที่ต่�งๆ รูปร่�งทรวดทรงเปน อย่�งนอรวิเยียนแท้ คล้�ยรูปวัดพม่�ม�ก” พระบ�ทสมเด็ จ พระจุ ล จอมเกล้ � เจ้ � อยู ่ ห ั ว 24 กรกฎ�คม ค.ศ. 1907

2

-

Sep14 Oct14 Nov14 Dec14 Jan15 Feb15

10

Photo: King Chulalongkorn

“…I took a photograph of an old man… he was a kind man with a reserved smile when I photographed him…”

4

20

Female

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015p

...in search of modern technology

Top 10 Exports Jan-Oct14 %/value USD bill Motor Cars and automotive 10.8%/20.6 EDP equipment 7.9%/15.1 Refined fuels 5.0%/9.6 Precious stones/jewellery 4.5%/8.5 Polymers etc. 4.3%/8.2 Chemical products 3.8%/7.3 Rubber products 3.6%/6.8 Machinery and parts thereof 3.3%/6.2 Electronic integrated circuits 3.2%/6.0 Rubber 2.7%/5.1

40

Male

0801 0807 0901 0907 1001 1007 1101 1107 1201 1207 1301 1307 1401 1407 1501

King crab is an exciting new addition to the Norwegian fisheries sector and has already proven a highly lucrative delicacy that is exported around the world.

10-20% 10-15% 7% 0-35%

6

80+ 70-74 60-64 50-54 40-44 30-34 20-24 10-14 0-4

Import 1,347 (1,550) MNOK Export 3,906 (2,494) MNOK

Chemicals Fish Pulp Engineering Other Metal… Electronics Food Machinery Cars Computers Semi-manuf Others

ปูราชาเป็นความน่าตื่นใจอย่างใหม่ใน อุตสาหกรรมประมงของนอร์เวย์ และยัง กลายมาเป็นอาหารเลิศรสที่ทำากำาไรอย่างงาม และส่งออกไปขายทั่วโลก

Corporate income Tax Withholding Tax Value Added Tax Personal income Tax

60

Q4.14

As a major natural gas and oil producer and one of the largest exporters of energy in the world, Norway contributes to the energy security of consuming countries. As Norwegians place a premium on environmental sustainability, the country is taking climate policy seriously and developing advanced environmentally friendly production technology and procedures that span from exploration to end user. For over a century, Norway has been producing clean hydropower. Today it is a pioneer in the development and production of solar cell panels because of its metallurgical expertise in producing silicon metal. Another focus is the development of energy efficiency and carbon capture and storage, in addition to experiments with wave energy, tidal energy, salt water energy and floating windmills. Although Norway is a country rich in natural resources, its human capital is still the country’s most valuable asset. A nation of well-educated, open, adaptable people has always been the key to Norway’s success and will continue to be well into the future. The visit of King Chulalongkorn to Norway in 1907 was the start of a long and deep friendship between two nations that are geographically far apart. As can be seen in King Chulalongkorn’s many letters written during his visit to Norway, His Majesty appreciated the modern Norway he discovered and enjoyed meeting the people of Norway. Since that time, mutual understanding and contacts between Norway and Thailand have grown. Continued exchanges of people, technology and investments will ensure the common journey that began in 1907 will continue into the future.

151

8

Q3/14

companies feel comfortable doing business in Norway because of its transparent and streamlined regulations, providing the predictability businesses crave when looking to invest. The Norwegian maritime sector has also been important in the Thai-Norwegian context. In 1907, every fourth ship calling on Bangkok was a Norwegian vessel. Today, Norway maintains the world’s most technologically advanced offshore fleet, resulting in it being the market leader in specialised shipping of petroleum products, chemicals, gas, paper, vehicles and rolling stock. Norway is also the world’s leading producer of Atlantic salmon. Norway’s long and jagged coastline of cold, clean, fresh seawater provides excellent conditions for sustainable aquaculture. Sustainability is a core value for most industries in Norway, and fisheries are no exception. Norway’s aquaculture competence is internationally sought after.

Norway is rightly famous for its winter display of the Northern Lights, or aurora borealis in Latin, which draws large numbers of visitors every year to Norway’s vast northern wonderland.

80

Q2/14

ประเทศที่อยู่ไกลกันคนละมุมโลก ดังจะเห็นได้จากพระราชหัตถเลขาหลาย ฉบับที่ทรงเขียนระหว่างเสด็จฯ เยือนนอร์เวย์ ทรงชื่นชอบความทันสมัยของ นอร์เวย์ที่พระองค์ ได้ทรงค้นพบ ทั้งยังทรงสนุกกับการพบปะพูดคุยกับชาว นอร์เวย์อีกด้วย นอร์เวย์และประเทศไทยจึงเริ่มมีการติดต่อสัมพันธ์กัน และมีความเข้าใจ อันดีระหว่างสองประเทศนับแต่นั้น การแลกเปลี่ยนเรียนรู้ทั้งในด้านเทคโนโลยี การลงทุน และทรัพยากรบุคคลที่เกิดขึ้น จึงมีจุดเริ่มต้นจากการเสด็จ ประพาสนอร์เวย์ในปี ค.ศ. 1907 และยังส่งผลสืบเนื่องต่อไปในอนาคต

มหัศจรรย์แห่งธรรมชาติอันเลื่องชื่อของ นอร์เวย์ ได้แก่ปรากฏการณ์แสงเหนือในช่วง ฤดูหนาว หรือ “ออโรรา โบเรลลีส” ที่ดึงดูด นักท่องเที่ยวจำานวนมากให้มาเยือนดินแดน มหัศจรรย์ทางตอนเหนือของนอร์เวย์ทุกๆ ปี

150

We hope this book will inspire more Thai people and companies ‘in search of modern technology’ to travel to Norway and share our common history... strengthening even further the already excellent ties between our two countries.

10

Q1/14

redistribution of funds through an effective tax system. Starting from the 19th century, Norway steadily built up its economy thanks to its abundance of natural resources, good governance and the steely determination of its people. By 1994, when Norway integrated into the European Economic Area, it had the highest socioeconomic stability of any member. Today Norway ranks high on many development indices due to its sound economic management and social justice system. Thailand is one of Norway’s major markets in Asia for both exports and investments, in particular in the fields of telecommunications, fertiliser and fish and seafood processing. Exports from Thailand to Norway have also continued to increase. As a relatively small country, Norway thrives on trade and is open to foreign investment. International

พระบาทสมเด็ จ พระจุ ล จอมเกล้ า เจ้ า อยู ่ ห ั ว 19 กรกฎาคม ค.ศ. 1907

12

100

Aug14 Sep14 Oct14 Nov14 Dec14 Jan15

สภาพภูมิอากาศอย่างจริงจัง ตลอดจนพัฒนาเทคโนโลยีการผลิตที่เป็นมิตร กับสิ่งแวดล้อม ซึ่งกระบวนการเหล่านี้ได้ขยายผลไปสู่ผู้ใช้ด้วย เป็นเวลากว่าศตวรรษที่นอร์เวย์เป็นผู้ผลิตพลังงานจากน้ำาสะอาด และ ปัจจุบันยังเป็นผู้บุกเบิกในการพัฒนาและผลิตแผงโซล่าเซลล์ เนื่องจากมี ความเชี่ยวชาญในการผลิตเหล็กซิลิคอน ทั้งยังให้ความสนใจกับการพัฒนา ประสิทธิภาพของพลังงาน การดักจับและกักเก็บคาร์บอน รวมถึงการทดลอง เกี่ยวกับพลังงานคลื่น พลังงานน้ำาขึ้นน้ำาลง พลังงานจากน้้ำาเค็ม และกังหันลม ลอยน้ำา ถึงแม้นอร์เวย์จะมีทรัพยากรมั่งคั่ง แต่ทรัพยากรมนุษย์ก็ยังคงเป็น สินทรัพย์ที่มีค่าที่สุดของประเทศ กุญแจสำาคัญที่ทำาให้นอร์เวย์ประสบความ สำาเร็จมาโดยตลอดก็คือ ประชาชนที่มีการศึกษา เปิดกว้าง และรู้จักปรับตัว สิ่งเหล่านี้จะนำาพาประเทศให้เจริญต่อไปในอนาคต การเสด็จประพาสยุโรปของพระบาทสมเด็จพระจุลจอมเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัว ในปี ค.ศ. 1907 นับเป็นจุดเริ่มต้นมิตรภาพอันยาวนานและลึกซึ้งระหว่างสอง

9

King Chulalongkorn, July 19, 1907

“ห่างจากนอทเคปไม่ถึง ๕๐๐ ไมล์ อาจจะเห็นพระอาทิตย์ในเวลาเที่ยงคืน อาจจะเห็นนอทไลต์ แสงสว่างข้างฝ่ายเหนือ ซึ่งเปนโอภาศอันควรจะพิศวง”

Thai Population 2012

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MY CN TH ID PH VN LA IN KH MM

และการจัดสรรเงินกองทุนด้วยระบบภาษีที่มีประสิทธิภาพ นับแต่ศตวรรษที่ 19 นอร์เวย์ค่อยๆ พัฒนาเศรษฐกิจอย่างต่อเนื่องโดย อาศัยทรัพยากรธรรมชาติที่อุดมสมบูรณ์ การปกครองด้วยธรรมาภิบาล และความมุ่งมั่นของประชาชน เมื่อได้เข้าร่วมอยู่ในพื้นที่เศรษฐกิจยุโรป (European Economic Area) ในปี ค.ศ. 1994 นอร์เวย์จึงมีเสถียรภาพ ทางเศรษฐกิจและสังคมสูงกว่าประเทศสมาชิกอื่นๆ ปัจจุบันนี้นอร์เวย์เป็น ประเทศที่มีดัชนีการพัฒนาอยู่ในลำาดับต้นๆ ในด้านการบริหารจัดการ เศรษฐกิจและความยุติธรรมทางสังคม ประเทศไทยเป็นหนึ่งในตลาดใหญ่ของนอร์เวย์ในทวีปเอเชีย ทั้งในด้าน การส่งออกและการลงทุน โดยเฉพาะธุรกิจโทรคมนาคม ปุ๋ย และปลา ตลอด จนอาหารทะเลแปลรูป ในขณะที่สินค้าส่งออกจากประเทศไทยไปยังนอร์เวย์ ก็เพิ่มขึ้นอย่างต่อเนื่อง ในฐานะที่เป็นประเทศเล็ก ต้องถือว่านอร์เวย์ประสบความสำาเร็จทางด้าน การค้า และเป็นประเทศที่เปิดกว้างสำาหรับการลงทุนจากต่างชาติ บริษัท ต่างชาติเองก็รู้สึกวางใจ ต่อการทำาธุรกิจใน นอร์เวย์ เนื่องจาก มีกฎเกณฑ์ที่ โปร่งใสและมี ประสิทธิภาพ คล่องตัว ทำาให้ กลุ่มธุรกิจสามารถคาดการณ์ก่อนที่จะลงทุนได้ กิจการด้านพาณิชยนาวีของนอร์เวย์ ก็มีบทบาทสำาคัญต่อความ สัมพันธ์ระหว่างไทย-นอร์เวย์เช่นกัน ในปี ค.ศ. 1907 เรือทุกๆ 4 ลำาที่เข้า เทียบท่าในกรุงเทพฯ จะเป็นเรือจากนอร์เวย์ 1ลำา ปัจจุบันเรือเดินทะเลของ นอร์เวย์ยังคงความก้าวหน้าด้านเทคโนโลยีสูงที่สุดในโลก นอร์เวย์จึงยัง เป็นผู้นำาตลาดด้านการขนส่งสินค้าพิเศษ อันได้แก่ ผลิตภัณฑ์ปิโตรเลียม เคมีภัณฑ์ ก๊าซ กระดาษ ยานพาหนะและรถบรรทุกสินค้า นอกจากนี้นอร์เวย์ยังเป็นผู้ผลิตปลาแซลมอนแอตแลนติกชั้นนำา ของโลก ด้วยแนวชายฝั่งเป็นรอยฟันเลื่อยทอดยาวไปกับน้ำาทะลใสสะอาดและ เย็นจัด ซึ่งเป็นสภาพแวดล้อมที่เหมาะสมที่สุดสำาหรับการเพาะเลี้ยงสัตว์น้ำา แบบยั่งยืน ความยั่งยืนเป็นหัวใจสำาคัญของอุตสาหกรรมส่วนใหญ่ในนอร์เวย์ รวมถึงอุตสาหกรรมประมงด้วย และปัจจุบันศักยภาพในการเพาะเลี้ยงสัตว์น้ำา ของนอร์เวย์ก็กำาลังเป็นที่ต้องการในระดับสากล ในฐานะผู้ผลิตน้ำามันและก๊าซธรรมชาติรายใหญ่ และหนึ่งในประเทศ ผู้ส่งออกพลังงานรายใหญ่ของโลก นอร์เวย์มีบทบาทในการสร้างความมั่นคง ด้านพลังงานให้กับประเทศผู้ใช้พลังงาน และเนื่องจากชาวนอร์เวย์ให้ความ สำาคัญกับความยั่งยืนของสิ่งแวดล้อม จึงมีการดำาเนินนโยบายที่เกี่ยวข้องกับ

of social equality, innovation and hard work, which King Chulalongkorn discovered in 1907, is still a leading influence in Norwegian society. The historical importance of King Chulalongkorn’s visit to Norway in search of modern technology had an everlasting effect on the close relationship that Norway and Thailand still enjoy today. King Chulalongkorn put ‘Siam’ on the world map and by 1907 Siam was standing on the doorstep of a new era that would be fueled by far-reaching social, economic and industrial development. Not only did King Chulalongkorn witness first-hand the wave of industrialisation that was taking place in Norway, he also discovered an inspiring panorama of pristine nature, mountains, glaciers and fjords, as well as a nation of friendly, innovative people.

“…we fortunately witnessed both the midnight sun and the northern light phenomena from here…”

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At that time, the introduction of hydroelectric energy presented massive opportunities for energyintensive industries. Norway made history in 1905 when Norsk Hydro, now called Yara, started producing mineral fertiliser using hydroelectric power to extract nitrogen from air. King Chulalongkorn visited the Norsk Hydro facilities to review this invention and even brought samples back to Thailand. In one of his many letters written during his visit, he noted how impressed he was at how the Norwegians used modern technology to operate such large facilities with a minimum of labour. Norway’s forestry management, sustainable fisheries and shipping sector have always been important in the country’s economic mix, and as Norway continues to modernise, other sectors such as offshore natural gas and oil, telecommunications, health technology, tourism, renewable energy and environmental and energy technology all play a major role. Norway also developed the concept of grouping together related industries to focus on research and knowledge, then sharing this knowledge within the group to build upon it. This concept builds competency and expertise that is sought after throughout the world. A strong focus on research and education enables Norway to be receptive to new ideas and technology, which is pivotal to the nation’s development. Although Norway is fortunate to have abundant oil and gas deposits within its territories, decisionmakers have recognised that this new wealth could easily create an economically imbalanced society. Part of what makes Norway special is that it aims for inclusive growth and has been able to achieve this through a set of core beliefs: a strong dialogue between employees and employers, a robust social safety net, an open economy, gender equality and a substantial

King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) travelled to Norway in 1907... นอร์เวย์ยังได้พัฒนาแนวคิดในการรวมกลุ่มอุตสาหกรรมที่มีความ เกี่ยวข้องกัน เพื่อมุ่งเน้นในเรื่องการศึกษาวิจัยและองค์ความรู้ จากนั้นจึงนำา องค์ความรู้มาแลกเปลี่ยนกันภายในกลุ่มเพื่อนำาไปใช้ประโยชน์ แนวคิดนี้ช่วย สร้างศักยภาพและความเชี่ยวชาญ อันเป็นคุณลักษณะซึ่งเป็นที่ต้องการทั่วโลก การให้ความสำาคัญกับการค้นคว้าวิจัยและการศึกษาอย่างจริงจังทำาให้ นอร์เวย์สามารถรับแนวความคิดและเทคโนโลยีใหม่ๆ ซึ่งถือเป็นหัวใจสำาคัญ ของการพัฒนาประเทศ แม้ว่านอร์เวย์จะโชคดีที่มีทรัพยากรนำามันและก๊าซธรรมชาติสะสมอยู่ มากมายในประเทศ แต่ผู้มีอำานาจในการตัดสินใจล้วนตระหนักดีว่าความมั่งคั่ง เหล่านี้ทำาให้สังคมเสียดุลยภาพทางเศรษฐกิจได้ง่าย สิ่งที่ทำาให้นอร์เวย์มี ความพิเศษโดดเด่นกว่าประเทศอื่น คือการวางเป้าหมายเพื่อการเจริญเติบโต ของประเทศโดยรวม และสามารถบรรลุเป้าหมายนั้นด้วยแนวคิดหลักๆ ใน สังคม ได้แก่ การพูดคุยรับฟังกันระหว่างนายจ้างและลูกจ้าง เครือข่าย ประกันสังคมที่เข้มแข็ง ระบบเศรษฐกิจแบบเปิด ความเสมอภาคทางเพศ

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ing Chulalongkorn’s visit to Norway in 1907 was perfectly timed. This was the beginning of a new century, the countries of Europe were making new alliances, political changes were on the horizon and industrialisation was transforming the way countries would relate to each other. Norway had only recently achieved independence from its neighbour Sweden, and was governed by a democratic constitution. The nation’s leaders were actively developing a new social and industrial infrastructure, focusing on the betterment of present and future generations. This strong Norwegian sense

Export Growth 2013 -0.2% Export Growth 2014 projected 0.0% Trade Balance USD 6.7 bill Current Account Balance USD -2.5 bill International Reserves USD 167.2 bill Minimum wage (Bangkok) Baht 300/day

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ทอดพระเนตรนวัตกรรมดังกล่าว และทรงนำาตัวอย่างกลับมาประเทศไทยด้วย ในพระราชหัตถเลขาฉบับหนึ่งที่ทรงเขียนระหว่างเสด็จฯ เยือนนอร์เวย์ พระบาทสมเด็จพระจุลจอมเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัวทรงแสดงความประทับใจที่ชาว นอร์เวย์ใช้เทคโนโลยีสมัยใหม่ เพื่อบริหารจัดการโรงงานขนาดใหญ่เช่นนี้ โดยใช้แรงงานน้อยที่สุด การบริหารจัดการป่าไม้ การทำาประมงอย่างยั่งยืน และธุรกิจการขนส่ง ถือเป็น 3 ภาคส่วนที่มีความสำาคัญต่อเศรษฐกิจแบบผสมของนอร์เวย์ และเมื่อประเทศยังเดินหน้าต่อไปสู่ความทันสมัย ภาคส่วนอื่นๆ เช่น ก๊าซ ธรรมชาติและน้ำามันนอกชายฝั่ง การสื่อสารโทรคมนาคม เทคโนโลยีด้าน สุขภาพ การท่องเที่ยว พลังงานหมุนเวียน ตลอดจนเทคโนโลยีด้านพลังงาน และสิ่งแวดล้อม ก็เข้ามามีบทบาทสำาคัญด้วย

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ารเสด็จพระราชดำาเนินเยือนนอร์เวย์ของพระบาทสมเด็จ พระจุลจอมเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัว ในปี ค.ศ. 1907 ถือเป็น ช่วงเวลาอันเหมาะสมยิ่ง เนื่องจากเป็นการเริ่มต้น ศตวรรษแห่งการสร้างพันธมิตรใหม่ของกลุ่ม ประเทศยุโรป ในขณะที่การเมืองเริ่มส่อเค้าการเปลี่ยนแปลง และการพัฒนา อุตสาหกรรมกำาลังเปลี่ยนรูปแบบความสัมพันธ์ของนานาประเทศทั่วโลก นอร์เวย์ในขณะนั้นเพิ่งได้รับเอกราชจากประเทศเพื่อนบ้านอย่างสวีเดน และอยู่ภายใต้การปกครองในระบอบประชาธิปไตย ผู้นำาของนอร์เวย์ให้ความ สำาคัญกับการพัฒนาโครงสร้างพืนฐานทางสังคมและอุตสาหกรรมเพื่อ ประโยชน์ของประชาชนและคนรุ่นหลัง สิ่งที่พระบาทสมเด็จพระจุลจอมเกล้า เจ้าอยู่หัวทรงประจักษ์ด้วยพระองค์เองในปี 1907 คือชาวนอร์เวย์มีจิตสำานึก สูงในเรื่องความเท่าเทียมกัน ในสังคม การประดิษฐ์คิดค้น นวัตกรรมใหม่ๆ และการ ทำางานหนัก ซึ่งยังมีอิทธิพล อย่างมากในสังคมนอร์เวย์ การเสด็จฯ เยือน นอร์เวย์ของพระบาท สมเด็จพระจุลจอมเกล้า เจ้าอยู่หัว เพื่อแสวงหา เทคโนโลยีสมัยใหม่ จึงมีความ สำาคัญทางประวัติศาสตร์ซึ่งส่งผล ต่อเนื่องยาวนานถึงความสัมพันธ์ อันใกล้ชิดระหว่างนอร์เวย์และไทย จวบจนทุกวันนี้ พระบาทสมเด็จพระจุลจอมเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัวทรงนำาพา “สยาม” ให้ปรากฏ อยู่บนแผนที่โลก และใน ค.ศ. 1907 ประเทศไทยก็กำาลังจะก้าวเข้าสู่ยุคใหม่ ซึ่งขับเคลื่อนด้วยการพัฒนาทางสังคม เศรษฐกิจ และอุตสาหกรรม พระบาทสมเด็จพระจุลจอมเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัวไม่เพียงทรงประจักษ์ด้วย พระองค์เองถึงกระแสการพัฒนาอุตสาหกรรมในนอร์เวย์เท่านั้น หากยังทรง ค้นพบความงดงามของธรรมชาติแบบดั้งเดิม ภูเขา ธารน้ำาแข็ง และฟยอร์ด ตลอดจนผู้คนชาวนอร์เวย์ที่เปี่ยมไปด้วยมิตรภาพ และพลังแห่งการ สร้างสรรค์ การเริ่มนำาไฟฟ้าพลังน้ำามาใช้ในเวลานั้นถือเป็นโอกาสครั้งใหญ่สำาหรับ อุตสาหกรรมพลังงาน นอร์เวย์ ได้สร้างประวัติศาสตร์ที่สำาคัญใน ค.ศ. 1905 เมื่อบริษัท นอร์สค์ ไฮโดร ซึ่งปัจจุบันเปลี่ยนชื่อเป็น “ยารา” ได้เริ่มผลิตปุ๋ยแร่ ธาตุ โดยใช้ไฟฟ้าพลังน้ำาเพื่อแยกไนโตรเจนออกจากอากาศ พระบาทสมเด็จ พระจุลจอมเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัวทรงเสด็จฯ เยี่ยมโรงงานของนอร์สค์ ไฮโดร เพื่อ

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To celebrate more than a century of close relations between Norway and Thailand, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Bangkok has produced a 200 page book entitled ‘Modern Norway Then and Now’, presenting H.M. King Chulalongkorn’s impressions and photographs from his visit to Norway in 1907, with images of the modern Norway of today.

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Thailand’s Economy at a Glance

Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce

Thai-Norwegian Business Review

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Christmas Luncheon H.E. Ambassador Kjetil Paulsen generously opened the residence garden for the Thai-Norwegian Chamber’s Christmas Luncheon on 30 November 2014. Both children and adults had a great time with traditional Norwegian Christmas delicacies and a Christmas workshop with many activities. Thanks to all sponsors who generously donated the raffle prizes; two round trip air tickets Bangkok-Oslo from Norwegian Air Shuttle, one return ticket Bangkok-Oslo from Emirates; two iPhone 6 from dtac; beautiful jewellery from Felicia, many hotels-, resort- and restaurant vouchers, luxury bottles of champagne and wine and many more. All proceeds will be given to charity projects Faa Lang Fon and Kids Action for Kids, supported by Nordic Light.

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Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce


Profile for Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce

Thai-Norwegian Business Review  

2015-01 Norner: Norwegian Company Goes Thai Norway-Myanmar Business Council open its Doors

Thai-Norwegian Business Review  

2015-01 Norner: Norwegian Company Goes Thai Norway-Myanmar Business Council open its Doors

Profile for norcham