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Free Copy

January-March 2018



a publication of CanCham Thailand

Platinum Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

John Stevens CanCham President

2017-2018 CanCham Thailand Board Members Patron: H.E. Donica Pottie, Ambassador of Canada to Thailand

Executive Board: John Stevens, President Dean Outerson, Vice President Derek van Pelt, Vice President Dan McKay, Treasurer Sunny Patel, Secretary

Board of Directors: Peter Baines David Beckstead John Casella Surachit Chanovan Lawrence Cordes Caroline Kwan Ron Livingston Michael White

Embassy Representative Michel Belanger

Advisors: Yvonne Chin Don Lavoie Joni Simpson Marisha Shibuya Peter van Haren Kelly Cailes

Executive Director: Rose Swagemakers

Thai-Canadian Chamber of Commerce 139 Pan Road, Sethiwan Tower 9th floor, Bangkok 10500 Tel: +66(0) 2266-6085-6 Fax: +66(0) 2266-6087 Email: info@tccc.or.th Website: www.tccc.or.th

The Voyageur is the monthly magazine of the Thai-Canadian Chamber of Commerce, covering all Thai-Canadian business, legal and social news of interest to the members and others who are active in expanding Thai-Canadian bilateral trade.

Dear CanCham Members and Friends,


It’s hard to believe that 2017 is almost behind us! It has been an extremely busy year at CanCham – led by our outgoing Executive Director, Kelly Cailes. As many of you know, Kelly will be leaving the post at the end of this year. During his two years as ED, Kelly has been instrumental in bringing about positive change to the Chamber. Our membership is up over 20% from this time last year, our events have been infused with new energy and record attendance, and our management team is strong and motivated. Kelly will be missed, but fortunately has agreed to continue on as an Advisor to the Board. I wish Kelly all the best in his future professional endeavours, and look forward to his continued support and involvement in CanCham. It’s also my great pleasure to introduce our new Executive Director, Ms. Rose Swagemakers. Rose has many years of experience running large membershipbased organizations, and has operated her own Sustainability Consulting business. Most recently Rose was Events and Relationship Manager at EuroCham in Cambodia. She is a very structured thinker and organized manager and I look forward to her imparting her energy, skills and experience to CanCham and in driving the Chamber to even greater heights in 2018 and beyond. The new year kicks off with two major upcoming events: The Crystal Ball (January 10) and Women in Leadership (February 21). The Crystal Ball is the first major multi-chamber event on the calendar and promises to be a lively, interactive discussion during which four senior panelists will provide their perspectives and outlooks on the financial, political, communications and work/employment landscape for the year ahead. CanCham’s second annual WIL: Women in Leadership focuses on the “Path to becoming a Leader” . This high profile panel of female leaders will be moderated by Canadian Joni Simpson and will focus on gender equality in the workplace. We look forward to seeing you at these events, and thank you for your continued support of CanCham.

Editor: CANCHAM Thailand

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018.

Publisher: Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. 211 Soi Prasert-Manukitch 29, Prasert-Manukitch Rd., Chorakeabua, Ladprao Bangkok 10230 Tel: +66(0) 2943-7166-8 Fax: +66(0) 2943-7169 Design: Disraporn Yatprom Email: disraporn@scandmedia.com

Advertising Contact: Mr. Finn Balslev, Marketing Director Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. Tel: +66(0) 2943-7166 ext.116 or 08-1866-2577 Email: finn@scandmedia.com

Yours Sincerely, John Stevens

Chamber Events



Multi Chamber Fiesta Networking - Nov. 15

CanCham Business Luncheon – Alberta’s Pivot to Asia: Opportunities for Thailand - Oct. 4

CanCham Thailand was pleased to welcome Mr. Ron Hoffman, former Ambassador to Thailand and currently Alberta’s senior representative for the Asia Pacific Basin. In a dynamic address, Mr Hoffman outlined the multitude of trade and business opportunities for Western Canada & Thailand. The importance of Western Canada as a gateway to ASEAN was highlighted and the reasons why Thailand is an attractive investment country in ASEAN for Alberta companies.

CanCham, together with the Irish-Thai, BeLuthai, EABC, GTCC, JFCCT, NZTCC, Franco-Thai and Malaysian-Thai, organized a MultiChambers Fiesta networking evening on Nov. 15 during which time CanCham’s new Executive Director Rose and newest members were introduced. Guests from various Chambers mingled and enjoyed a Fiesta fun evening @ Islero Restaurant with fabulous Spanish canapes, sangria and free flow of beverages.

Maple Leaf Masquerade Ball - Oct. 7

The Maple Leaf Ball, CanCham’s largest Gala event of the year was once again a highlight of the year for the Canadian community, their friends and associates. The event celebrated traditional “Thanksgiving” and was held on Saturday, October 7th at the Marriott Bangkok Sukhumvit 57 and supported local Thai charities such as the People’s Eye Care Foundation. With a “MASQUERADE” theme, guests were all in colourful disguise and enjoyed Live Pop Opera entertainment by “FIVERA”. After a delicious three-course Thanksgiving dinner and entertainment by DJ Octo which had many dancing, the evening ended with some cool breeze and after-party cocktail at Octave’s rooftop bar. https://canchamthailand.org/events/maple-leaf-masquerade-ball/



Canadian Author, Bjorn Turmann’s new Book Launch - Nov. 23

At Smalls rooftop, Canadian-born author Bjorn Turmann’s launched his latest (fourth) novel on Nov. 23. A tale of family and friendship, love and letting go, “In this Invisible” is contemporary literary fiction that stares unblinking at Cambodia’s past through the lives of four characters colliding in modern day Phnom Penh. The memorable characters and unforgettable scenes in this novel are typical of Turmann’s unique brand of Asian storytelling. If interested, the book can be purchased on Amazon.com and at AsiaBooks.

Chamber Events

December 2017

“Getting To Know You (GTKY) - Canada” – The International Women’s Club of Thailand - Nov. 23

The International Women’s Club of Thailand (IWC) put the spotlight on Canada during their “GTKY” luncheon on Nov. 23. The ladies got into the spirit; dressed up in red and white and taking pictures at the Canada Booth. A lot was learned by all from listening to an informative and visually attractive presentation by the Canadian Embassy and answering trivia questions prepared by Club Canada. CanCham provided IWC with a framed image of aboriginal art, in honour of the Club’s 53th. birthday celebration.

Global Economic Outlook Luncheon - Dec. 1

Export Development Canada’s (EDC) “Global Economic Outlook” session was organized by CanCham in partnership with the Embassy of Canada and Thai EXIM bank. Keynote speaker Mr. Peter Hall, VP and Chief Economist of EDC, presented a detailed economic outlook on Thailand-Canada. Dr. Rak Vorrakitpokatorn, Senior Executive VP of Export-Import Bank of Thailand provided an overview of their services. Peter Hall reported strong economic movement for EU and USA. EDC and Thai Eximbank are in the process of finalizing an MOU. The announcement will be made in 2018.

Canadian Tax Talk for Expats and Investors - Nov. 24

On Nov. 24, CanCham presented the Canadian Tax seminar for Expats and Investors at the Pacific Club. Canadian Wayne Bewick, a partner at Trowbridge Professional Organization provided a detailed overview and interesting insights, addressing the most frequently asked tax-related questions by Canadian expatriates ranging from residency status and principal residence questions to departure tax returns and filings, voluntary disclosure program and returning to Canada questions. CanCham’s valued member ReDev Properties was the kind sponsor and co-organizer of this event.

CanCham Christmas Brunch - Dec. 16

CanCham’s annual Christmas Brunch at the British Club was once again a fun and active family affair. All members of the Canadian community, friends, associates were invited, with special thanks to the Canadian Friendship Society (formerly Club Canada) for their partnership.

January 2018


CanCham News

Rose Swagemakers

Meet , CanCham’s new Executive Director


How do you feel about your role as CanCham’s new Executive Director? I’m absolutely delighted to have been appointed as CanCham’s new Executive Director, taking over the role from Kelly Cailes who has done a great job for the past two years and is now transitioning into an advisory role within the Chamber. I welcome his continued involvement and look forward to the collaboration with CanCham’s very involved and active Board of Directors, spearheaded by John Stevens. But most importantly, I’m eager to quickly get connected to all of our valued members & partners.

Forging partnerships and building alliances has been a running thread throughout my career. I just love it when connections are made and magic happens! I welcome all CanCham members and partners to reach out to me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ rose-swagemakers/

Tell us a bit about yourself? I AM CANADIAN (and very proud of it). I’m from Toronto where I helped build and manage a boutique sustainability consultancy (SME) for 14 years. I was also the ED for several Canadian trade associations. I’ve planned successful trade and matchmaking missions before and I’ve had the pleasure of working with a wide variety of clientele; multinationals, government, NGO’s & trade associations. Some of my lovely Canadian clients have included: Royal Bank of Canada, IBM, Molson Coors, Procter & Gamble Canada, Canada Green Building Council, United Way Toronto, Canadian Business for Social Responsibility, Travel Media Association of Canada etc. After several years of being an entrepreneur, I took a sabbatical year in 2014 and travelled around the world with my husband Anthony and two sons Emile & Felix. This trip was a life-changing experience after which we decided to make a drastic change and move to a region where our work experience might have bigger impact. Thailand was the obvious choice for us all. Following two set-up years in Thailand, I took a small side-step and spent an exciting year at the European Chamber of Commerce in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Here, I helped drive explosive growth in membership, sponsorship and event attendance. Drawing on my rich experience with great colleagues and members in Cambodia, I intend to bring some of last year's excitement to CanCham.



What are your goals for the Chamber? 1. Community Growth We at CanCham currently have about 130 members and growing rapidly. I believe our strength is in our membership; down to earth, friendly Canadians and lovely Thais, very willing to share their expertise and long-standing networks of contacts with others. To me, it is that quality of connections that is most important. Therefore, I want to expand on attracting more such valued members to our Chamber and grow our community as it is beneficial to us all. I see no reason why we cannot be a Chamber of 200 quality members! 2. Diversified Membership Base At CanCham we will stay vigilant to build an increased membership base that is well diversified by industry/sector, gender, nationality etc. I will put a particular focus on attracting more Thai companies to our base and we would love to see more female executives involved in the Chamber as (board) members. Currently, we have one female board member and two female advisors, with me as ED. It is a good start but my aim is to model after our Prime

Minister, Justin Trudeau’s gender balanced cabinet.

We will have a campaign offering discounted member rates to female executives leading up to our flagship “Women in Leadership Event” on Feb. 21 for example.

3. High-Profile Education Events I’m interested in building more highprofile, annual business-focussed events that highlight Canada’s expertise and values. Solid business and social events to facilitate learning opportunities and expand networks will remain key at CanCham and I know that a close Chamber cooperation strategy is in place for maximum attendance results. Therefore, I am keen to work together with my colleagues at the various Foreign Chambers of Commerce to co-brand and develop events of interest. 4. Key Relationships It’s all about the connections and relationships so I want to: 1. Quickly become connected with all of our members. I’m excited to learn about your businesses and very open to listen to your ideas and suggestions. 2. Work closely with our valued partners at the Canadian Embassy as my commitment is to BRAND Canada. To represent our country well and all the excellent business opportunities that we provide & facilitate. 3. Build strong Thai-Canadian business relations. I love my adopted country of Thailand and I’m here to serve CanCham’s needs. I promise to give our members my very best, but I also believe that this organization is for you, and BY you. The more focused time you commit to CanCham, the more you will get out of it. I urge all members to become actively involved in CanCham in 2018 and for those who haven’t joined us yet, WE ARE IN GROWTH MODE (20% in the last few months), please come and be part of the excitement: ed@canchamthailand.org

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CanCham News

A Warm Welcome to CanCham’s Hootsuite Offshore - Corporate

Sathish Jain Individual

Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit Corporate

Richard Meiklejohn

Sathish Jain We b s i t e : w w w. l i n k e d i n . c o m / i n / sathishcs-consultant/ Email: sathuj@yahoo.com Tel: 0846484643

Tanya-Orn Sirithongkam Daniel Sasse Website: www. sheratongrandesukhumvit.com Email: Tanya-orn.Sirithongkam@ luxurycollection.com, Daniel.Sasse@luxurycollection.com Tel: +662 649 8600

Website: Hootsuite.com Email: rich.meiklejohn@hootsuite.com Tel: +1(778) 828-8643, +852 9185 6174 Description: The Best Social Tool for Business. Get Started with Hootsuite Today! Over 10 Million Users - Free 30-Day Trial - Post to Multiple Networks - Powerful Scheduling Tool Highlights: Manage Multiple Social Networks, Publish Content Fast, Saves Time...

Levco Holdings Corporate + Annual Partner David Levy Website: www.levcoholdings.com Email: dl@levcoholdings.com Tel: +66819882882 Description: Levco Holdings Ltd. is at the forefront of ensuring quality for the Chinese manufacturing and inter national retail industries, primarily through its subsidiary, Quality Control Services (Holdings) Ltd. (QCS).

University of Victoria Offshore - Corporate

Description: Conscientious & integrity-driven Senior Management Executive with 20 years of hands-on regional/global, strategic technology and innovation program & change management experience across Banking, Telecom, Healthcare, Insurance, Regulatory and Securities sectors. Current focus is on compelling new frontiers of IoT, FinTech, Big Data, Blockchain’s potentials across business domains -Payment Solution Landscape, Edge Computing & Neo 4J Graph DB MDM solutions”.

Hughes Krupica Corporate Kevin Bourque www.hugheskrupica.com Email: kevin@hugheskrupica.com Tel: +66955321578 Description: We only want to assist clients with work we are good at, enjoy, focus on and can deliver additional value through industry involvement and knowledge: Corporate Private Company Share Sales and Purchase Private to Public Company listing assistance Corporate.

Karima Ramji Website: www.uvic.ca Email: ramjik@uvic.ca Tel: Canada T 250-721-6076 Description: Dynamic, hands-on learning; research that makes a vital impact; and discovery and innovation in Canada’s most extraordinary academic environment provide an edge that can’t be found anywhere else.



Jes Interior Company Corporate KH Kim Website: www.interiorthai.com Email: khkim@jesinterior.com Description: Jes interior with over 80 professional staff manages to work together as one family, not only with internal staffs but also with the elaborately selected partner companies and capable suppliers as well for best services to our precious customer.

Description: Since opening its doors in March 1996, the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit hotel has sought to flawlessly combine modern elegance and luxury with the fascinating Thai culture in the very heart of the nation’s capital. The magnificent 33-storey tower, located in close proximity to Bangkok’s major tourist and shopping destinations, was built to face both magnetic city views and the soothing vistas of Lake Ratchada.

Royal Varuna Yacht Club Corporate Baz Website: www.varuna.org Email: generalmanager@varuna.org Tel: 038 250 116 Description: Sail. The Gulf of Thailand’s azure waters are calling, with ideal winds for an exciting race or a relaxing sail down the coast. Train with world class sailing instructors on our fleet of boats including Optimists, Lasers, Catamarans and Dinghy’s, plus plenty of storage for your own boat. Come sail with us. Racing. Regattas.

John McGrath Individual John McGrath Email: john.mcgrath@tcis.ac.th Tel: +66863526764

newest members Plaza Athenee Corporate

Golfasian Co., Ltd. Young Professional

Marine Deroo Website: www.theatheneehotel.com Email: Marine.Deroo@luxurycollection. com Tel: 02 650 8800

AJ Easton Website: www.golfasian.com Email: aj@golfasian.com Tel: 02 714 8470

Description: The Athenee Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok is one of the most luxurious and prestigious addresses in this captivating city. Renowned as the most luxurious hotel in Bangkok, the hotel near the BTS SkyTrain Bangkok allows for easy exploration in the city.

Andrew Scarry Corporate Andrew Scarry We b s i t e : w w w. l i n k e d i n . c o m / i n / andrewmichaelscarry/ Email: amscarry@gmail.com Tel: +66927596689 Description: Andrew has worked into progressively larger management roles and through various industries, proving to be a fast and effective learner, communicator and influencer of change and continuous improvement. Numerous assignments have had him implement and upgrade management systems, new facilities and procedures, and act as one of the most visible and accepted leaders in his organisations. He is collaborative and passionate about his mission to effect positive change and improvement for the health, safety and welfare of all business interests.

Craig Chau Individual Craig Chau Email: craigchau88@gmail.com Tel: +66818146566

Description: Our Bangkok golf packages represent just a sampling of what is available to you. Please feel free to contact us for more Bangkok golf course information and a customized Bangkok golf package. Our staff is always available to answer any question and provides expert assistance to design a tailor made Bangkok golf holiday for you. We are glad to make special Bangkok golf and sightseeing recommendations that represent the best of Bangkok.

Government of Alberta Corporate Ron Hoffmann, Robert Simmons Website: www.economic.alberta.ca/ Asia-Pacific.asp Email: ron.hoffmann@alberta.org.hk, robert.simmons@gov.ab.ca Office Tel: +852 2528-4729 Mobile: +852 9661-2099 Tel: +6590019563 Description: Alberta has strong trade and social ties with many countries in the Asia Pacific region. The Asia region includes key markets such as China, Japan, Korea and India that, in combination, is Alberta’s second largest export market worth over $8.43 billion of Alberta’s $94.87 billion in exports in 2012. Asia is also becoming a leading source of foreign direct investment in Alberta. The South Asia/ Oceania region represents one of Alberta’s most diverse export markets. Countries in this region are a source of a large portion of immigrants to Alberta and have strong economic and cultural relations with the province.

Kelly Cailes Individual Kelly Cailes www.canchamthailand.org Email: kelly.cailes@gmail.com Tel: +66927644981 Description: Kelly Cailes is a long standing CanCham member who focuses on trade and business queries across all sectors. He is connected to Thai ministries, Embassy of Canada and Canadian federal and provincial governments. Kelly is a strong resource in the ThaiCanadian community in Thailand and South-East Asia.

Renee Wong Young Professional Renee Wong Email: reneewong512@gmail.com Tel: +66955861037 Description: Renee holds a Bachelor of Science with honours in Economics and Government from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Following from her interest in international development and emerging economies, she has also recently completed a master’s degree in International and Public Affairs, with distinction, from the University of Hong Kong. As a Certified Public Accountant, Renee has gained a wealth of International experience in financial management and business analysis from 7 years as an audit manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers, conducting financial audits for listed multinational companies in various industries including utilities and pharmaceutical, as well as governmental bodies and non-profit organisations, and 2 years as Regional Finance Manager for Dentons Asia Pacific, helping it expand in the region to become the world’s largest legal network..

January 2018


Digital Marketing Trends and Tips to Boost Your Performance By Robert Woodrich When you encounter terms such as influencer, KOL, or SEO, do you feel awash in a sea of indecipherable jargon? You are not alone! In recent years, the marketing communications landscape has undergone a seismic shift – we now live in a world where appearing at the top of a ‘search engine result page’ (SERP) or securing a mention by a blogger with a large, relevant following can matter more than appearing in print or having a roadside billboard. Although you may be unfamiliar with some of these terms, it’s possible to wrap your head around what they mean rather quickly. In 2018, you can’t afford not to – if you are looking for the best way to reach your target customers, the smartest way to do so is online.

An often-cited report from We Are Social notes that Thailand is a worldleader in terms of mobile Internet usage,1 while Google’s Thailand office recently reported that YouTube watch time grew by 90% year-on-year in 2017.2 This is happening within a context where sunset industries such as print-based publishers are rapidly losing customers. I will provide you with an overview of three digital marketing trends, how they affect you as a business leader (hint: they almost certainly do!), and three tips to easily boost your online marketing performance. Digital Marketing: What Is It? Before we begin, a quick look at what we mean by the term ‘digital marketing’. While not necessarily a textbook definition, I find this memorable description to be most useful:

We now live in a world where appearing at the top of a ‘search engine result page’ (SERP) or securing a mention by a blogger with a large, relevant following matter more than appearing in print or having a road-side billboard.



“Digital marketing is any form of marketing products or services that involves electronic devices.”3 Free from buzzwords, this quote conveys how developing an understanding of digital marketing need not be overcomplicated. While a digital marketer should be adept in both offline and online methods, my experience is that Thailand-based agencies separate ‘digital’ from ‘traditional’. Clients themselves hire both digital agencies and old-school PR firms, owing to this artificial barrier. Nearly all marketing is now digital – the trend away from outmoded methods will only continue to accelerate. Three Trends in Digital Marketing I could just as easily title this section ‘Three Trends in Marketing’, given how Internet penetration now reaches more than 42 million people in Thailand alone.2 From the perspective of a regionallyoriented agency, it appears as though an exponential number of brands are realizing they must be competitive online – from cosmetic surgeons to trendy restauranteurs, business owners know that an increasing number of their potential customers are on the web.

Internet penetration now reaches more than 42 million people in Thailand alone.2

1. Better Measurement

In the not-so-distant past, marketers used to charge clients for vague metrics such as ‘PR Value’, which arbitrarily assigns editorial coverage a value two-and-a-half times higher than that of advertising. While this may have made sense in a pre-Internet era, there is no excuse for marketers to continue to peddle such superficial fluff. I argue that clients are going to want meaningful metrics such as clicks-tocall, conversions, and view-through rates. Why shouldn’t you in an age when such data is now readily accessible? This trend affects businesses because it will better-enable them to track activity and understand their return on investment (ROI).

This trend matters because businesses need to be prepared to produce original visual content and many firms of an earlier generation can’t deliver. 3. No More Distinction Between Digital and Traditional Having worked in both digital and traditional spaces, I echo Google Thailand’s view that the imaginary line distinguishing digital from traditional will evaporate to the point agencies no longer differentiate between the two.2 Several locally-based firms have discrete digital offices, entirely separate from their legacy traditional business – this will soon be a thing of the past. Traditional marketers and PR practitioners are going to need to fold digital products and services into their proposals, rather than force clients to work with two teams. This trend represents great news for businesses because they will no longer need to deal with one agency for public relations and another for social media marketing. Three Tips to Boost Your Performance (#3 Will Surprise You!) Want some easily-digestible tips to boost your online marketing performance? I’ll dish out three.

2. Higher Quality

1. Social Media Management Tools

It used to be that you could simply slap someone else’s content onto a client’s Facebook Page (i.e. ‘re-post’) and call it a day – no more!

Use a social media management tool such as AgoraPulse, Hootsuite, or Sprout Social to keep tabs on what people are saying about your brand (i.e. ‘social listening’), produce useful reports, and schedule content.

Your customers have come to expect high-quality, original content on the social channels they consume and you should be delivering it to them. If you hire an agency, this means you should turn to someone with a record of producing graphics, infographics, photos, and more. Thais in particular have a keen eye for aesthetically-pleasing visual content, with an average student’s Instagram feed resembling that of a Korean fashion influencer. They know when you’ve turned to a low-cost design competition site.

Any marketer worth their salt should already be using one of these, so be sure to ask when screening vendors. 2. Google AdWords Google AdWords is hands-down the most practical way to reach target customers across the region. While this will change as more advertisers recognize its value, the current costper-click (CPC) for search terms related to your product or service is probably pleasantly cheap. .

Pro tip: Ensure your advertiser is using a Google AdWords Manager Account for pay-per-click (PPC) project management so that you always maintain control over your client account, regardless of what happens down the line. 3. Search Engine Optimization I’ve saved the best for last. Shockingly few Thailand-based companies are taking advantage of search engine optimization (SEO), allowing you to swoop in and snap up a coveted top search engine result spot. While this requires a longer-term commitment, your patience will earn you increased in-bound traffic and sales. You can brush up on the basics for free by browsing the Moz.com “Beginner’s Guide to SEO”.4 SEO tools such as Alexa, Moz, and WebCEO allow you to determine your site’s ‘authority’ as well as that of competitor sites. Having researched countless web pages, I can assure you that even top-ranked Thai sites (e.g. Manager Online, Sanook! News, or Thai Rath) are not insurmountable. Want to know the top sites in Thailand for yourself? Alexa, an Amazon.com subsidiary, publishes a free list.5 Still confused about the difference between a SERP and Sprout Social? Looking for native English- and Thaispeaking professionals who can provide cost-effective, digital-ready marketing communications solutions? Just visit www.paperandpage.com and fill up the contact form to book your free consultation.

________________________________ Sources:

1. https://wearesocial.com/special-reports/ digital-in-2017-global-overview 2. http://apac.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/ five-digital-marketing-trends-thailand.html 3. https://neilpatel.com/what-is-digital-marketing 4. https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo 5. https://www.alexa.com/topsites/countries/ TH

January 2018


Voyageur Q & A Canadian author Bjorn Turmann’s recently launched his fourth novel: In This Invisible. This contemporary literary fiction, is set (mostly) in modern day Phnom Penh and features the type of memorable characters and unforgettable scenes we have come to expect from Turmann’s unique brand of Asian storytelling. Recently, Voyageur caught up with Bjorn to find out about his latest work.


a) Please tell us how the idea for the book came about and give us a brief plot outline. The book was born of a long list of incredibly fascinating, at times surreal, experiences I’ve had in Cambodia since 1995. Living somewhere is always going to enhance (and perhaps change) what you know, though, and renting a flat in Phnom Penh in January 2014 was the starting point for the story to take shape. It really came down to a conversation I had with one person at a social, lots of wine, event. I was surrounded by a group of French-Cambodians – all with stories of Khmer Rouge escape – and one story in particular stayed with me right through to the completion of this novel. Every story needs a starting point, an experience that emotionally connects you to storytelling potential; something curious that you can structure a plot around. That conversation in early 2014 started it all. I won’t give too much away, but I can say that it was the catalyst for “Rotha” – a character that holds such significance to how the story evolves. Contemporary literary fiction set in Phnom Penh was the goal, and I pointed myself firmly in that direction – thanks in large part to an endless supply of scenes and experiences I acquired along the way. Briefly, this novel is about a famous self-help writer-speaker who comes to Phnom Penh to write his third book. Very quickly he discovers a book club in his name; from there the relationships, the questions, and the secrets unfold. b) What about the title, how did that come about? In This Invisible is one of those titles that pops into your head and immediately you know it fits. All of my books start with a title. If I don’t have a title, I don’t



feel comfortable starting the writing process. The title gives the story voice – an identity that I can instantly visualize and be with all the way to the end, especially during those periods of low creative energy. Those moments where you doubt yourself (and those moments do, unfortunately, come!). That title – like all of my previous titles – inspired me to keep going. The writing journey is long, it’s intense…it’s blissful and it’s permanent. Humanize your journey with a name. You can’t ignore it once it has identity! Phnom Penh is wrapped tight with things that happen in the invisible. The energy of that city is unlike anywhere

I’ve been: mysterious, heartbreaking, infuriating, fascinating, humorous, creative, curious…unforgettable. In Phnom Penh, I was, in this invisible. c) How does this book differ from your other three? Well, it’s the shortest of my four. And as I discovered, shorter novels are a (wonderful) challenge to write. Structurally, I also experimented in ways I had not tried with the other three: four, first-person narratives in the first-half, changing to third-person for (most of) the second half. I wanted the main characters to express their unique identities and despite the many debates I had with myself, I kept coming back to the

multiple first-person narrative approach. I am happy I took that path. d) What was your ultimate goal in writing the book? I am in my head so much that if I didn’t have fiction as an outlet I think I would be in a very difficult place. I am the consummate day-dreamer. I have multiple story ideas cooking in my noggin at any one time. For me, that’s an exciting place to be. So the ultimate goal is always just to ensure I am serving that excitement, that passion, as much as I possibly can throughout the day. Sometimes I just take notes on scenes. Whether or not those scenes show up in the final product of any of my books or short films is another question, but whatever the result, scene-setting helps me get closer to something that could (perhaps) become plot and character ready. If I had, dare I say, a more commercial goal in mind, it is to make this novel a stage play or film. I certainly wrote it with some sort of script in mind, and I am currently exploring a few possibilities to make that vision a reality. Having written and directed films and been closely aligned to the filmmaking process through my founding partnership with an Oscar nominated visual effects and animation company in Vancouver (The Embassy VFX), I am motivated to see how a film might work for not only this novel, but all of my published content. e) Any tips for promising CanCham writers – how do you keep at it? Do you have a regimen for your writing process? The question I frequently get from those who want to write a novel is: How do you do it? I really only have one answer: you start. Getting started is difficult. We can easily make lots of excuses not to begin. But if we really want to pursue this goal, this dream, we have to make that first draft happen. Draft one is a creative vomit – and I say that with the deepest respect because I have had to contend with a lot of my own messy (perhaps creative) vomit. You get it all out and you put “the end” on it…and what a feeling it is! Draft one – no matter what it looks like – is a massive achievement.

You let it rest for a while (a few weeks, maybe more) and then you start the editing process. Intense and intimidating – and very, very necessary. In This Invisible was fifteen drafts. Drafts one to five typically see the most changes so you have to be ultra-disciplined during those periods. My writing regime is a daily excursion. Sometimes that time may only be one hour (or less). That’s fine. In that short window you can create some powerful ideas. And maybe that hour is just sitting in a funky coffee shop watching people. Dedicate time and write with pen and paper. Pens inspire scenes. Scribble away without the backspace button hounding you.

f) Any plans for a fifth book yet? I have two novels that I am outlining at the moment. One is loosely based on a television show I’ve been working on for eight years. A sci-fi comedy that seems to be getting increasingly darkly humorous by the day. The other is a plot involving the dinner table of a resort that I started to craft while writing my first book back in 2004. Now it has the benefit of fourteen years of additional life experience. Maybe I will write them both simultaneously. I can certainly start! Follow Bjorn on Instagram: @BjornTurmann

January 2018


Member News

AISAA, Thailand's new international school sports league changing the game


June 2017 saw the founding of a new sports league for international schools in Bangkok. The importance of a well-rounded sports education is taken very seriously at Berkeley International School. That's why Berkeley is delighted to be a part of the new Asia International Schools Athletic Association. The Asia International Schools Athletic Association (AISAA) features the current member schools: Berkeley, Concordian, Ekamai, KIS, Mahidol & Wells. AISAA began activities this school year 2017-18. The league believes in respect, good sportsmanship and fair play with the main goal being friendly competition between our member schools. Berkeley consider these values are essential for teamwork, leadership, and acquiring the skills to be able to function in group activities at any level later and in any job later on in life. Other outside schools can apply to become full-time members of the league after the first season of play is concluded. The prerequisite for a school to join the AISAA is being able to field teams in both boys’ and girls’ sports for students of all ages. AISAA also tries to have schools competing at a local level cutting out long bus rides for students to and from league games and tournaments. All outside schools are free to



Academy (Japan), CDNIS (Hong Kong), & the East West School (Phnom Penh). The schedule for the league is broken into three seasons, giving students the opportunity to play several different sports in one school year. This school year, basketball, football, and volleyball will have a league and tournament schedule.

apply to join AISAA Tournaments and new member schools are welcome to join, making the league even more diverse and colorful. Current divisions are broken into the following grade groups: Varsity, G10-U, G7-U, G5-U, & G3-U. As the league matures and play becomes stronger this will then lead to AISAA international tournaments and the opportunity for student athletes to travel abroad for competition. Schools already interested in entering AISAA Tournaments come from the following locations: Logos (Cambodia), Ayeyarwaddy (Mandalay), MIS (Yangon), ISE (Rayong), Prem School (Chiang Mai), CMIS (Chiang Mai), ICS (Bangkok), SISKY (Khao Yai), Kobe Canadian

In swimming, there will be two meets for each division, along with a friendly meet & gala, and for Track and Field there will be one meet for each division. Badminton, tennis & table tennis will also offer one or two tournaments for each division. Other AISAA activities include music, dance & drama. There will be an AISAA Orchestra Performance, Battle of the Bands, and Dance-off scheduled annually. The league is already flourishing this school year and will continue to grow giving all competing students a daily dose of team play and practices and a wonderful set of memories for many years to come, helping to create the finest athletes possible in the great city of Bangkok. https://www.berkeley.ac.th/aisaa

Member News

Siam Canadian in World's 100 Largest Seafood Companies 2017 Report: Undercurrent News


Thailand-based shrimp-focused exporter Siam Canadian rounds out Undercurrent News’ Top 100 Report for 2016, a year in which the company saw its sales grow 11% to $310 million on the back of higher shrimp prices. The company, founded as a small trading company by Canadian-born entrepreneur Jim Gulkin in 1987, grew alongside Thailand’s seafood industry. Gulkin then expanded its reach in 1992 when the company opened its first overseas branch in Vietnam. Siam Canadian continued to grow its procurement network and expand its operations by subsequently opening additional offices in China, India, Indonesia and Myanmar, eventually adding an international trading division at its Bangkok, Thailand, headquarters.

Trade disruption Forces out of Siam Canadian’s control may stand in the way of the company’s growth plans. The first of these is a forthcoming decision from the European Union, which may take measures against perceived health risks of Indian shrimp imports. “If there is an outright ban, or other severe restrictions placed that could drastically curtail India shipments to the EU, there will be a domino effect on the industry,” Gulkin told Undercurrent in October 2017. Such an event could lead to several different outcomes, he said.

In 2015, Gulkin told Undercurrent that he hopes to grow annual revenues to $500m over the next five to seven years by expanding its seafood importing and distribution businesses. “Having said that, the total sales value is often so skewed by raw material prices, either up or down, that it is not necessarily a good indicator of the health of one’s business. We are much more focused on the bottom line and will continue to be so,” he said. The drivers of growth will be “expansion of our customer base, increased sales in existing markets and further penetration into some of the newer markets, such as Asia, Central and South America and Africa. Our import business will also hopefully play an important role in our growth”, said Gulkin.

One is that India “totally pivots to the US market”, and increases sales as much as it possibly can to Vietnam and China. “As a result, Thailand and Indonesia would be further squeezed from the US market. Thailand does not have the option of increasing their sales to the EU to pick up some of the slack left by an India ban, due to Thailand’s lack of GSP [generalized scheme of preferences] privileges.” President Trump The administration of US president Donald Trump, who has been vocal against free-trade deals and stands poised to renegotiate some agreements, could

throw another wrench into the machinery of the global seafood trade, Gulkin fears. Seeing as Trump ran on a promise of protecting American industries producing for the domestic market, lobbyists for the US wild shrimp and farmed catfish sector — the Southern Shrimp Alliance and the Catfish Farmers of America — “could very likely get his ear”, Gulkin told Undercurrent. “If they do, I certainly would expect more protectionist measures to come into place. More anti-dumping and countervailing duties,” said the CEO and founder. Activities: Trading | exports Shareholders: Jim Gulkin Species: shrimp, red mullet, red snapper, grouper, Vietnam barramundi, sea bass, silver sillago, croaker, caesionidae, leatherjacket, mackerel, mahi mahi, parrot fish, pomfret, redspot emperor, sweetlips, swordfish, bream, sole, tuna, squid, cuttlefish, octopus, clams, scallops, frog legs, crab, mussels, surimi. 2016 turnover: $310m (year ending Dec 31 2016, +11%) 2015 turnover: $280m Ownership: Private; Country: Thailand; Key executive: Jim Gulkin, CEO A: 9th Floor, Suite 283/44, Home Place Office Building, 283 Thonglor 13, Sukhumvit 55, Kongton Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand T: +66 2 185 3311 E: info@siamcanadian.com W: www.siamcanadian.com (Source: Undercurrent News)

January 2018


Welcome to Lotus


Best known for its lush paspalum fairways and awards for “Best Value Golf Experience” at the Asian Golf Awards, Lotus Valley was just a hidden gem only an hour east of Bangkok until only a few years ago. While most of Bangkok golf community drifts towards the Bang Na courses on weekends, those looking for the best playing conditions at a better price are drawn to Lotus Valley. With perhaps the best conditioned fairways in Thailand, Lotus Valley offers a memorable assortment of varying length par 4’s which make every round interesting. “Lotus Valley is the type of course where you can play just once and afterwards immediately remember every hole,” commented Canadian General Manager, Derek Schade. “There are a few short tricky par fours, some monster long par 4’s when the wind is up, a couple par 5’s that will



Valley Golf

be reached in two by better players and a couple more that are definite three shot par 5’s. Throw in the two short par 3’s with water guarding the green and the two most challenging short holes on the back nine and its sure to be a fun day” “You know it's a solid test of golf when you have used every club in your bag by the end of the round” added Canadian PGA Professional, Kevin Mumford. It comes as no surprise that Lotus Valley has already been recognized for “Best Golf Experience” at the Asian Golf Awards on two occasions. The quality of playing conditions rivals Thailand’s premier courses yet green fee rates remain reasonable year-round. For some, the main attraction is Lotus Valley’s pristine playing conditions but others are drawn by the clever Gary Player design and good pace-of-play.

Tee-times at Lotus Valley remain at 10-minutes apart as the Owners respect the traditions of the game over a quick profit. A typical round of golf runs about four hours even on weekends and holidays. “At heart Lotus Valley remains a Gary Player design” remarked Jon Morrow, who along with TurfPro Golf renovated the entire property a few years ago bringing in modern grasses and challenging green complexes.

Resort The spacious modern clubhouse was built during the redesign period including the main restaurant, The Lotus Leaf, private dining rooms, and a balcony overlooking the eighteenth green. As you enter the clubhouse through the lobby there is a grand sense of arrival with a view through the clubhouse lush neatly mown practice green surrounded huge palm trees. As the highway system south of Lotus Valley from Suvarnabhumi and south east from Pattaya continues to improve Lotus Valley will suddenly be a lot more convenient to get to from every direction. The main highway 3001 will become four lanes and well lighted in the near future making Lotus Valley more convenient for Bangkok golfers. Since being awarded the “Best Value Award” Lotus Valley is gaining recognition and popularity. More groups and tournaments are opting towards adding ten minutes more to their commute in

return for better playing conditions, comfortable pace-of-play and better rates.

receive free playing privileges at over 150 of the finest golf courses around the world!

As a result, the club is offering 5-Year and 10-Year memberships for the first time. The initial Membership offer includes benefits beyond that of a regular golf club membership. Lotus Valley Members receive a one-year membership to Tathata Golf, an 60-lesson online program endorsed by Greg Norman, Jack Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstram, which combines teachings from martial arts and compares the swings of the greatest golfer of all time.

This momentum from the “Best Value” standpoint leads to Lotus Valley’s future plans. Construction is already underway and next year they will open the 40-room Sappaya Resort within the property.

5-Year Lotus Valley Members also receive Membership into Pacific Links International where Lotus Valley Members

To follow Lotus Valley’s rise on social networks, visit Lotus Valley Golf Resort’s website at www.lotusvalley.co.th. For more information on rates and memberships email Canadian PGA Professional and Lotus Valley General Manager Derek Schade at gm@lotusvalley.co.th or contact him through Lotus Valley’s CanCham listing.

January 2018


Absolute Nutrition Poised to Enter Canada


By Kelly Cailes

Recently, a colleague and I visited Absolute Nutrition Co., Ltd, a pet food factory, owned and operated by the Shawpet Group. It manufactures highquality nutritious pet food for dogs and cats. Absolute Nutrition has built a brand new world-class facility located at Nong Chumpong in Phetchaburi province. The founder and CEO, Mr. Maitree Yimserhthi and his hospitable wife Khun Thanrawee told us they entered this business by way of importing pet food and pet accessories from USA, Japan, China, Holland, Lithuania, Germany and Korea. Currently, they are exporting to Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Hong Kong, Iran and Israel. Absolute Nutrition is in the process of being audited and is poised to enter the North American markets with a strong focus on Canada.

Absolute Nutrition is affiliated and certified by the following quality standard organisations: GMP, HACCP, Halal and they are in the process of being certified with ISO. The company prides itself on abiding by strict rules and regulations to provide top-quality products. Absolute Nutrition creates various types of pet food for all cat and dog breeds in the form of dry, wet and semi-moist. Their current series are Classic: made with real meat, Fruity: infused with real fruits, Single Protein and soon to be Smoothie, under the brand “PRAMA & PRAMY”, of which each series carries six types of delicious and flavourful products. Alongside Prama and Pramy, the company also produces for brands such as Finle: Chicken Jerky. On the day we visited, Dr Suminder Sawhney, DVM, MVSc, PhD, and Dr Faiza Aklil, DVM, both doctors of veteri-

nary medicine, were there representing the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). They had traveled from Ottawa to inspect the Absolute Nutrition Co., Ltd. plant and its products to make sure they could be imported safely into Canada. They were accompanied by Mr. Kittipong Promchan, DVM and Mr. Songratt Areed Hamrikul, (Agri) BA, BBA, MS, representing the Thai Department of Livestock Development. The inspection is a verification process that ensures Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or “Mad Cow Disease”), Avian Influenza, Newcastle Poultry Disease and other diseases are not transmitted to Canada. The Yimserhthis spared no expense, investing over 100 million baht into building their state-of-the-art factory and it was evident that they truly care about producing and distributing high-quality pet food products. This family-run business puts a tremendous amount of thought into all facets of its manufacturing process from selecting the food and ingredients it uses in its products to designing the packaging they are sold in. The process for selecting entering the food preparation area is quite detailed and time consuming, ensuring that no foreign contaminants are brought into

the production area. Absolute Nutrition’s philosophy can best be summed up by its motto, “We are driven by providing human-grade products of the highest quality that are both delectable and healthy and fulfil the necessary nutrition for your pets.” Canadian Pet Food Market at a Glance Canada is a nation of pet lovers. More than one quarter of Canadian households own at least one dog and one third of Canadian households own at least one cat. One in ten households has at least one cat and one dog – that’s over 13.7 million pets nationwide. Most pet owners consider their pets as part of the family and are very interested in their pet’s health and wellbeing, including what they eat. Canada has a strong pet food industry. According to Euromonitor International, more than 480,000 tonnes of pet food is sold in Canada annually. In 2014, Canadian sales of cat and dog food reached $1.84 Billion. The majority of Canadian pet food manufacturing is in Ontario, although there are manufacturers across the country. The Canadian industry currently employs approximately 2050 people. Canada’s pet food manufacturers are committed to preparing foods that consistently meet pets’ nutritional needs. Over 70% of dog and cat food sold in Canada is purchased through pet shops, superstores and grocery stores. Select types of pet food are available for sale only through veterinary clinics.



Chamber News

Women in Leadership 2018 - The Path to Becoming the Leader Wednesday, February 21, 2018 | 11:30 - 14:15 Dusit Thani Hall, Dusit Thani Bangkok Hotel

INTRODUCTION CanCham Thailand, in collaboration with Embassy of Canada in Thailand proudly presents “Women in Leadership” – The Path Becoming a Leader. This panel session is featuring four highly developed leaders, moderated by Canadian Joni Simpson who will focus on “Gender Equality” in the workplace. Joni is a Gender-Equality and Non-Discrimination Specialist who works with the International Labor Organization, in the United Nations, based in Bangkok.

EVENT DETAILS Date: Time: Venue: Dress Code: Entry Fee:

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 11:30 - 14:15 Dusit Thani Hall, Dusit Thani Bangkok Hotel Business attire or smart casual Thb 1,200 for members and participating chambers/organizations Thb 1,500 for non-members

For sponsorship opportunities please contact Rose Swagemakers, Executive Director, ed@canchamthailand.org, tel. 092-982-8586.

Chamber News

Team Canada for the Spartan Race


In the spirit of strengthening our sense of community, esprit de corps and enhancing our already strong ties to Thailand, Bryan Grass of the Canadian embassy would like to challenge you, your spouses, kids (15+) and friends to join him for the next Spartan race (http:// www.spartanrace.co.th/en) in Thailand (location to be determined) on 19 May 2018. The link below will provide most of the info; however the course is 5ks long with 20+ obstacles throughout; titled “The Spartan Sprint” (http://www. spartanrace.co.th/en/race/detail/3605/ overview?filter=sprint) this course is perfect for athletes of all levels; from Spartan first timers to seasoned racers. 5km+ Sprint is their shortest distance but it packs more than 20 Signature Spartan Obstacles including mud, fire, walls and barbed wire. If you think you can’t do it, you’re wrong. Get to the starting line and show yourself what you are capable of. This is the second Spartan Race in Thailand and a first for a Team Canada entry. See below for more details and let’s make history.

BIGGEST SPARTAN TEAM: The team that registers the most number of participants will enjoy their own private, branded tent on Race Day plus a Spartan trophy commemorating their team effort. ARRIVAL Racers should arrive at least 90 minutes before their scheduled heat times in order to have sufficient time to find parking, complete registration, checkin their bags at the bag tent and get warmed up for the race!

RACE SCHEDULE 11:15AM - 3:00PM Open Sprint FINISHERS RECEIVE • Badass Sprint Finishers Medal • A trifecta medal wedge piece (run a Super and Beast to collect your remaining two pieces!) • Sprint Finisher t-shirt (your other one should be pretty dirty) • Bananas at the finish line • Bragging rights CATEGORIES & PRIZES OPEN SPRINT: Open heats start at 8:00 am and will continue till 3pm. Waves of 200+ racers will be released every 15 minutes.



BAG DROP Bag Drop is complimentary, and limited to one bag per racer. All Bag Drop items MUST fit inside a single bag. No other bags will be accepted. Group changing tents, and outdoor/cold water showers will be available onsite. Food, drinks and a ton of great Spartan merchandise will also be available for purchase in the Festival Village. Don’t forget cash as ATM services are limited.

Team name: Team Canada Password: gocanadago1 (all lowercase) Start time: 11:15AM – 12:00PM PRICING THB 1650 - This price is valid until 30 November with processing fee total is THB 1773.75.

WHAT TO BRING • Photo ID • Confirmation Email with barcode • Towel, change of clothes/shoes, spare plastic bag for your muddy items • Sunscreen • Water

PARKING A full parking plan will be published soon, but generally, we would encourage you to park in designated areas at the race venue only to avoid being ticketed or towed. WHAT TO WEAR • There’s no dress code, but you’ll be running in mud and water, climbing hills and mountains, under barbed wire and jumping fire. • Our elites recommend: performance gear (NOT COTTON), water packs, compression underwear, energy bars and gels. • Advice from experience is to race in what you train in - new shoes on race day are NOT recommended.

TICKET TRANSFERS Before Race Day, you can transfer your registration to someone else at an administrative fee of THB250++ per transfer. Cut-off date to be advised in due course. FAQ More questions? Visit the FAQ page or contact the race at info@th.spartan.com SEE YOU AT THE START LINE!!!

Member News



The hurdles to reaching high levels of vehicle autonomy might be in infrastructure and legislation, but not necessarily in technology development. Today, Magna is proving that by unveiling MAX4, a fully integrated, customizable and scalable autonomous driving sensing and compute platform that can enable up to Level 4 autonomous driving capabilities in both urban and highway environments. MAX4 combines cameras, RADAR, LiDAR and ultrasonic sensors with a compute platform that are designed for easy integration with any automakers’ existing and future platforms—including hybrid and electric vehicles. Additionally, Magna’s compute platform, scalable for high-volume production, is flexible, upgradeable and fully functional with a fraction of power requirements as compared to alternative solutions. Magna has leveraged its full-vehicle expertise in its design of MAX4 to overcome traditional obstacles in the development and production of an autonomous driving platform. Crucially, integration of MAX4 retains an automaker’s existing design and styling freedom for their vehicle, including not taking up cargo space in the rear of the vehicle and personal space in the main compartment. “At the heart of this development is a desire to show the market Magna’s

breadth of capabilities and an autonomous driving enabling platform with subsystems that do not compromise the interior and exterior of a vehicle,” said Swamy Kotagiri, Magna’s Chief Technology Officer. “Our focus is on developing production-ready solutions that offer flexibility to integrate and the framework to enable Level 4 technology for when the market is ready.” One of the targets for Magna was to simplify the way drivers engage with autonomous driving systems including the option of an intuitive and familiar cruise-control-like user interface that is controlled through the press of a button. A lighted display indicates the vehicle is in autonomous mode, and drivers can disengage that mode via brake pedal or an emergency button.

Level 4 automation according to SAE International includes vehicles that can perform all safety-critical functions for the duration of a trip in a specified operational design domain with no input from a driver, save for destination or navigation input. To compare, most of the vehicles on the road today equipped with some automation features are classified by SAE as Level 1 or Level 2, requiring active monitoring by the driver. Magna has been developing and manufacturing autonomous technology features for automakers since the 2000s. Most recently it showcased its Level 3 autonomous capability with a 300-mile test drive which crossed an international border, in which the vehicle drove autonomously for 92 percent of the trip.

ABOUT MAGNA We are a leading global automotive supplier with 327 manufacturing operations and 100 product development, engineering and sales centres in 29 countries. We have over 161,000 employees focused on delivering superior value to our customers through innovative products and processes, and world class manufacturing. We have complete vehicle engineering and contract manufacturing expertise, as well as product capabilities which include body, chassis, exterior, seating, powertrain, active driver assistance, vision, closure and roof systems. We also have electronic and software capabilities across many of these areas. Our common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (MG) and the New York Stock Exchange (MGA). For further information about Magna, visit our website at www.magna.com. January 2018


Member News

Bank of Canada: Back to the Future? By Paul Gambles

Just as major central banks are finally beginning to withdraw their post-GFC policies, the Bank of Canada may be considering a complete volte-face.


Since late 2008, the central banks of many of the world’s largest economies have been implementing emergency measures in an attempt to get consumption back to pre-crisis levels (it says a lot that a central bank emergency measure can last for over 10 years – in the same way that Income Tax was introduced in the UK in 1842, at the time when Upper Canada was being superseded by the United Province of Canada, as a temporary measure but has never been repealed). These emergency measures centred on low base interest rates and a bond buying scheme called quantitative easing (QE). The US Federal Reserve’s 20082014 QE program alone cost somewhere in the region of US$4.5 trillion. While the Bank of Canada never adopted a full-scale QE policy, it did drop its base rates rapidly in 2008 and early 2009 – when it lowered them as far as 0.25% in April 2009. Since then, the Bank has raised them to 1%, lowered them to 0.5% and, last September, brought them back to 1%. Donald Trump’s new import tax laws could reverse this “trend”. According to Deutsche Bank, they could have a huge negative impact on Canada’s economy if Canadian goods become too expensive for Americans to buy. If this happens, Stephen Poloz and his colleagues may well consider dropping those rates again and even introducing QE. If we have learned anything from the past decade, though, it is that QE and ultra-low interest rates just don’t work. The theory went that, in a depressed economy where consumption is low, reducing the cost of funding for com-



mercial banks would encourage them to pass on that saving by reducing lending costs for companies and individuals. Low interest rates on lending would thus encourage people and businesses to spend more on credit. Once consumption picked up, the central bank would raise interest rates so commercial banks would again follow suit, to stop the economy from overheating through high inflation. Has it worked? Well, the fact that, a decade on, central banks are only just moving away from the policy tells us a lot. Taking a statistical approach, levels of consumption to GDP in countries such as the US and the UK also show that the economy is still worse off than just before the global financial crisis and has barely moved on from the immediate post-shock period. While Canada’s consumption to GDP rate has actually been consistently higher post-GFC than in the ten years before it, that’s because Canadian gross domestic product plummeted and remained low from 2009 onward. Admitting that ten years of “temporary” interest rates and a poorly-adapted version of Professor Richard Werner’s QE strategy have been a significant waste of time and money appears to be a difficult pill to swallow for the politicallyappointed heads of central banks. Instead, they’ve decided to pretend the tools they’ve been using have now done their job and it’s time to move on. The Bank of England, for example, recently said that it had increased its rate to curb inflation, which has just charted its eighth consecutive month rising above the 2% target – in September this year, it hit 3% year-on-year. Considering

the UK had previously spent three years under target (including some months of deflation), I’d say its economy needed some reasonable price increases to help raise salaries, making it easier for people to pay off all that private debt. Added to that, the Bank of England, run by Canadian export, George Clooney lookalike, Goldman Sachs alum and ex BoC Governor Mark Carney, could hardly claim a booming economy as justification to increase rates as the inflation appears to be driven more by the protracted period of post-referendum Sterling weakness (increasing the cost of imports) than by anything more constructive. Yet the Bank of England’s actions seem perfectly sane compared to the justifications given by the US Federal Reserve’s FOMC. In June, on explaining the Fed’s third interest rate increase in six months, Chairwoman Janet Yellen said the move reflected the “progress the economy has made and is expected to make towards the maximum employment and price stability objectives assigned to us by law.”1 But before the Fed’s first raise in over a decade, last December, inflation had been below the Fed’s 2% target for over three years. Then, having increased rates, inflation jumped up to 2.7% in February before dropping below target. Not only that, the Fed’s other stated target – employment – is far from being healthy, given the huge drop the US experienced in 2009. Like the US and UK, Canada’s inflation rate has behaved in complete isolation. As the Bank of Canada has gradually increased the base interest rate, inflation should theoretically drop. However, year-on-year rates in 2017 have decreased from 2.13% in January to 1.01% in June, but hit 1.55%

Member News in September. October’s y-o-y rate was 1.39%. What we’re seeing then, is central banks pretending to be in control, when they’re in fact just muddling along. In a seminal paper, the Bank of England has even admitted that it can’t “directly control the quantity of either base or broad money” and at best can only influence this, but that monetary policy becomes less effective, even as an influence, the closer rates get to zero.


The direct individual impact on savers and borrowers may not be great but raising rates and tightening fiscal policy at this time may be just as great an experiment and an even greater mistake than negative or zero-interest-rate polices have proven to be. In the late 1920s central banks experimented with policy at that time – the French national bank dramatically reducing the circulation of money by buying additional gold reserves to support the value of the Franc. I think that we all know how

that ended – The Wall Street Crash, The Great Depression and WW2. History doesn’t necessarily repeat but pursuing the same types of policies and expecting different outcomes is a special kind of madness, central bank madness. If the Bank of Canada does implement QE and keeps interest rates low, it will be in the face of a decade of evidence. What Canada and the rest of the world needs right now is a sanity check!

https://www.ft.com/content/ad34bde6-5121-11e7-bfb8-997009366969 MBMG Group is an advisory firm that assists expatriates and locals within the SouthEast Asia Region with services ranging from Investment Advisory, Personal Advisory, Tax Advisory, Corporate Advisory, Insurance Services, Accounting & Auditing Services, Legal Services, Estate Planning and Property Solutions.

Paul Gambles co-founder of MBMG Group

nspiring ndividuals

For more information: Tel: +66 2665 2536 e-mail: info@mbmg-group.com Linkedin: MBMG Group Twitter: @MBMG_GROUP Facebook: /MBMGGroup

Apply now for Full IB Diploma Scholarships at KIS As an IB World School, KIS has a history of excellent results on the IB Diploma. Our graduates are accepted by top ranked universities around the world, often with a university scholarship. KIS is offering one full IB Diploma scholarship, and partial scholarships for the IB Middle Years Programme and the IB Diploma to inspire individuals to be successful in life. Apply now for 2018-2019. www.kis.ac.th admissions@kis.ac.th.

January 2018


Member News

ONE MILLION BAHT SCHOLARSHIP, ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS NOW Join KIS’s inspiring Community with Academic Scholarships for the IB Diploma and the IB Middle Years Programme


KIS International School is inviting ambitious students to apply for the coveted IB Diploma academic scholarship, also known as the “One Million Baht Scholarship”, for the academic year 2018-2019 onwards. KIS scholarships are well respected in the international school community and are awarded in order to recognize academic excellence and open up the world of the International Baccalaureate (IB) to deserving candidates. The IB Diploma scholarship winner will be granted full tuition for the duration of the two-year IB Diploma programme, valued at around 1.6 million Baht. KIS scholarship students achieve high IB Diploma scores and go to excellent universities in the US, the UK, Europe and elsewhere, often receiving university scholarships too.



The “One Million Baht” scholarship is open to applicants of all nationalities who are fluent in English and currently in Grade 10 (Year 11). Applicants should be academically strong and wellrounded. Candidates may be eligible for a partial scholarship. Applications are welcome until February 23, 2018. Academic scholarships for other secondary school grades are also available. If you would like to be a part of our inspiring community please request full conditions and details of the scholarships from the admissions office admissions@kis.ac.th. More information about KIS is at www.kis.ac.th. ABOUT KIS KIS International School is an IB World School, offering the International Baccalaureate for children from 3- 18 years old. This academically rigorous and balanced curriculum consists of the

Primary Years Programme, the Middle Years Programme and the IB Diploma. KIS is a medium-sized school with a warm and caring atmosphere. The campus, located close to the centre of town, is green and spacious and has elaborate facilities. Our exceptional, vibrant and supportive teachers encourage our students’ love of learning. KIS graduates go to excellent universities around the world. KIS International School is licensed by the Thai Ministry of Education. It is an active member of the International Schools Association of Thailand (ISAT) and East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS). KIS is authorised by the International Baccalaureate and is an accredited member of the Council of International Schools (CIS). www.kis.ac.th

Profile for CanCham Thailand

Voyageur January 2018  

Voyageur January 2018