__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1

In Remembrance of His Majesty

King Bhumipol Adulyadej 1927 - 2016


Ron Livingston CanCham President

2016 - 2017 CANCHAM Thailand Board Members Patron:

H.E. Philip Calvert Ambassador of Canada to Thailand

Executive Board: President – Ron Livingston Treasurer – John Casella Secretary – John Stevens Vice President – Dean Outerson Vice President - Angus Mitchell Board of Directors:

Surachit (Art) Chanovan Joseph Henry Andrew Kloosterhuis Michael White Lloyd Wilson Sunny Patel Nitipong Boonsong Derek Van Pelt

Embassy Representative: Yvonne Chin

Advisors:

Sean Brady Peter van Haren Dan MacKay David A. F. Macdonald Stephen Janson Don Lavoie Ann Baines Picharn Sukparangsee

Executive Director Kelly Cailes

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

Dear CanCham Members and Friends,

C

CanCham Thailand dedicates this issue of Voyageur in loving Memory of His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej King Bhumibol Adulyadej (5 December 1927 – 13 October 2016) was the ninth monarch of Thailand from the Chakri Dynasty; known as Rama IX. Having reigned since 9 June 1946, he was the world's longest-serving head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history, serving for 70 years. It is the end of a chapter in Thailand’s history. King Bhumibol was a unifying father figure for the Thai people and provided stability for Thailand during the period of his reign. King Bhumibol was respected by all and will be remembered for his tireless devotion to improving the standard of living of Thai people and his commitment to universal values and respect for human rights. No one in the history of the Kingdom of Thailand has done more to improve the well-being of its people as His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He initiated thousands of development projects that greatly benefited the country and its people. As just one of his many lifetime achievements, King Bhumibol developed the “Sufficiency Economy” philosophy. According to His Majesty, the philosophy of Sufficiency Economy is embodied in three principles: Moderation, Reasonableness and Self-immunity. Moderation means not going to extremes, proceeding with interdependence and with caution. Reasonableness means acting with flexibility and without excess; shunning overindulgence and luxury, but taking care to provide enough to guarantee a good lifestyle. Self-immunity means that all people have sufficient protection from internal and external factors. Most importantly, he realized that any projects that truly improved the lives of the people must go hand-in-hand with the protection of the environment and sustainable use of natural resources. The King’s spoken words at his coronation were to “reign with righteousness for the benefits and happiness of the Siamese people”. King Bhumibol Adulyadej dedicated his reign to this first public pledge of promoting the welfare of all Thai people.

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. Editor: CANCHAM Thailand 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

This is a period of great mourning for the Thai people, please respect their grieving as they work through this difficult time. As President of CanCham Thailand I would like to thank all of our members, associates and staff for honoring the King and for continuing to make CanCham a strong and vibrant organization. If you have any comments or suggestions and would like to contact me directly, please feel free to do so at ron@iem-global.com. Ron D. Livingston President CanCham Thailand.

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

November – December 2016

3


CanCham News

WHY JOIN CanCham Thailand?

M

Membership Services CanCham Thailand has a member network of Canadians, Thais and other nationalities from a wide range of sectors. We offer business related speaking engagements, themed events, golf tournaments and our Business oriented “Canuck Connections” held the third Wednesday of every month. All of these events and functions create opportunities to meet professionals from all walks of life. As a member, you receive member pricing to our events which saves about 20% - 30% off nonmember prices. Membership to CanCham Thailand offers FREE access to educational resources, advocacy support and the opportunity to participate in networking events throughout Southeast Asia. The CanCham continually partners with think-tanks and stakeholders throughout Canada and ASEAN to produce high-quality, high-impact studies that analysis the health and growth of the Canada-ASEAN economic corridor. In addition to these studies, the CanCham Thailand works closely with local governments and has enjoyed a productive and lasting relationship with the Canadian government. By coordinating closely with our government partners in Canada and throughout ASEAN, we are able communicate our member's concerns to decision-makers in the region. Lastly, the CanCham Thailand is focused on providing high quality Networking Events that bring together key opinion leaders and decision makers active in the region within both the public and private sectors. Community Voice Through the CanCham Executive Director, Board of Directors and other members, we work to address matters affecting members' ability to run a successful business and/or organization in Thailand. CanCham Thailand in conjunction with the JFCCT (Joint Foreign Chamber of Commerce in Thailand) and other Chambers of Commerce have the authority to write policy papers with the influence of your community voice. The JFCCT offers various committees such as Tourism, ICT, Education, International Trade and SME. Join a committee and get involved today. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Last year, CanCham donated 934,000 Baht to the People's Eye Care Foundation, the Thai Red Cross and the YWCA. By being involved, as a member or sponsor, you are giving back to the community by supporting our charitable donations. We also support various Alumni organizations and have placements for Interns and Externs at the Chamber office.

Key Benefits: • Access to CanCham’s network • Invitations to CanCham Thailand events, along with ASEAN summits and conferences • Timely and relevant information about business and regulatory developments in the region • Networking opportunities with local and multinational firms operating in Thailand and Southeast Asia • Access to regional decision-makers in both Canada and ASEAN TO JOIN, please follow this link: http://www.tccc.or.th/20-great-reasons-join-tccc/

4

Voyageur


C

Diamond Jim Patterson

CanCham Thailand is sad to report the passing of long-time Chamber supporter and former board member Jim Patterson after losing a very tough battle with cancer. Canadian-born, Jim lived in Thailand for 25 years. He was in the entertainment business and a senior director with Major Cineplex, running numerous projects including bringing the Canadian-made IMAX theaters to Thailand and the region. His latest and most unusual project was the Embassy Diplomat Screens. Located in Central Embassy these cinemas are unique globally. Though not a Major Cineplex project, Jim as Managing Director, and Brian Hall, another Canadian, set up the all VIP-screen project with bed seats, large luxurious lobbies, fine food and unrivaled highly personalized butler service. Jim touched everyone he met and his sense of humour and showmanship shone through even at the end of his life as he made sure popcorn was served at his funeral. Jim led a great and fulfilling life; an admitted contest junkie, he advised many students in Thammasat University’s MIM Moot Court competition. We thank the Patterson family with providing us with the following memory of Jim. From buying a MG at 16, to touring as an opening act with Ike and Tina Turner, scuba diving with great whites and spontaneously Costa Rica, there was never a dull moment. Full of adventure, laughter and so much love.

driving from Europe to India, Jim Patterson lived without regret. He was a risk taker who often succeeded and because of his demeanor, gained the nickname 'Diamond Jim'.

wife Lena. They have 2 daughters who also call Bangkok home but currently live State side. Bangkok was always where Jim felt the most relaxed, which is ironic given how stressful of a city it can be.

Jim's nature was to accept everyone without judgement and encouraged us all to live life to the fullest. The Pattersons believed in adventure, starting off in Vancouver, then on Maui for 7 years and finally to Thailand, which truly became home. He spent the last 25 years living in Bangkok, Thailand with his

He truly did live life to the fullest and the family spoke often over the past year about how content he felt with what he was able to achieve in the last 70 years. He travelled the world and taught his family how to develop a deep love for travel and great food. Spending time in Africa on Safaris or water rafting in

Jim Patterson was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer that had metastasized to his bones in June 2016. He fought until August 2017. In the time span of that one year, Jim travelled with his daughters to Kenya, with the family to Bali, had the girls come to Thailand with his grandchild three times and took two trip to San Francisco himself. During this year, Jim was able to see his grandson walk and dance for the first time. There was so much joy in a year that could have been just about pain. Cancer is an evil, often fast acting disease that one would not wish upon anyone. In spite of the cancer however, the Pattersons spent a great amount of quality time together. When looking back on this last year, they will take pleasure in all the moments that they were able to spend together as a family. Jim was a monumental part of the Patterson's close knit family and they will all miss him every single day for the rest of theirs lives. “Dad, thank you for teaching us to always take risks and to always do what you truly love”. November – December 2016

5


Human Brands Maple Leaf Ball 2016 Pullman Bangkok Grande Sukhumvit <CanCham> <Human Brands> <Embassy>

6

Voyageur


November â&#x20AC;&#x201C; December 2016

7


CanCham News

Human Brands Maple Leaf Ball 2016 Thank you

8

Voyageur


Member News

Not all pizza and picnic tables are created equal By Rockefeller St. Bernard

L

Let me set the scene for you. It’s August, it’s a Friday, there’s a picnic table, cold beer, bottle of wine, a few friends… inspired conversation. We could be in Toronto or Vancouver or Saskatoon… but, fortunately for me, this particular evening involved a much shorter August journey to a part of Bangkok where I have spent little time – until now. If it’s the picnic table that got your attention, you’re not alone. Because a recent discovery on Sukhumvit Soi 50 will put an end to your homesick-fora-picnic-table-in-Bangkok dreams… while serving you some of Bangkok’s best pizza under the banner of a Bob Dylan-inspired song: “This pizza is no longer unknown…like A Rolling Stone…” (The gratuitous changes to Mr. Dylan’s lyrics purely my own doing.) Now that you are with me, let’s back up – but not for long because the Molson might get cold. When I accepted the kind invitation from the passionate pizza proprietors of Rolling Stone, Geoff and Arny McIntyre, to venture beyond my usual Silom snobbery and – gasp! – go all the way to that part of Bangkok known to be a growing area for young professionals, a place so far and so big that it has its own Lotus Tesco – I naturally pulled out my Google Maps and thought carefully about things before giving a definite okay krub. “See you at 8pm then,” said Geoff, adding, “you can bring your own wine if you want, up to you.” Really? This was a Monday, the plan was for Friday, and as it turned out, I had a couple of bottles of strategically purchased red ready to go (read: trying to find something reasonable and good in Bangkok’s wine shops for under 500 baht is not easy, but I had just the perfect ‘up to you’ option.). Now Friday comes along, and as I was dusting off my Adidas, vino slotted into

12

Voyageur

sleeves, the skies open to disrupt the plans. No Krungtheyp commuter likes a Friday night downpour – especially a hungry food reviewer (sic) setting forth to parts unknown. My assumption that the delay would be brief was quickly challenged when, well, it wasn’t exactly brief. So I pick up the phone (said map flashing on screen) and dial the Dylany pizza digits, explaining to the McIntyres that I might be late. “No worries,” the reply, “our pizza oven won’t be closing early.” Separating oven from rain hit the right tune; instantly I was brought back to the reality that this was an evening of discovery and the weather was not going to ruin it… “Like a Rolling Stone…” Decision time: taxi or Skytrain? I chose the former – and I was not disappointed. Funny enough, the kind driver – who didn’t wince at my request to take me there from all the way over here – asked as soon as I sat down, hue mai? Yes, indeed I am hungry, sir, let’s hope the tollway is not tumultuous

tonight because I am hue maak! The universe did not conspire against my journey; when I landed, the McIntyres were there to greet me; and like Copperfield with a big reveal, there it was, the picnic table perched outside mere paces from the pizza oven (still very much open, thank you very much)…let the evening begin. Khun Arny, the gracious host and manager, helped me get the wine open, immediately sitting me down with menu items to think about. “We are trying blue cheese tonight,”


CanCham News she said, seeing that I was truly hue maak (Thais have a great relationship with food and they can always spot hunger that needs to be fixed, raewraew jing jing). “What would you like to choose for pizza toppings ka?” Mrs. McIntyre asked. Bangkok has loads of pizza options now, but full disclosure, I always like making my own, so that question, what would I like to put on there, was like landing on Barkerville Nelly pizza gold circa 1861. And so, with pan in hand, I went to work sifting through the ingredients listed before me na krub. What I came up with was eventually named “The BTS” (naming rights given to one who joined our picnic table cooperative), a large pizza so tasty that I took the liberty of ordering it twice: onions, olives, peppers, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, blue cheese and, this is where Khun Arny’s genius hit another high note, fresh basil, which turned out to be the perfect touch on a fabulous pie. With the picnic table setting (sans table cloth), wine bargains began to flow (note: the very fair 100-baht corkage kept the bargain lid on my less than five-hundred find) as fast as the inspired conversation (hockey, films, books, pizza, hockey, books, pizza, films, hockey…). When our social group expanded (as all picnic tables in Toronto, sorry, Bangkok, should), several other pizzas were selected. The oven produced pies never skimped on toppings (a problem at many other places in town); the consistency was spot on and so too the taste: thin crust, pulled from the wood fire at exactly the right time and delivered to our small gathering where wine turned into beer (Canadians can

do that, eh) and the skies cleared for all to pay homage to a summer evening that any pizza loving, picnic table wanting, human would be happy to discover in the Land of Smiles. And yes, all ye Montreal meat lovers on a mission can find many a great topping for your pizza night here (sausage, pepperoni…) – not to mention some seats inside, if you insist…for winter, she approaches. Torontonian McIntyres have had several franchise requests. Not surprised at all. Food quality is one thing, but professionalism is always another; they

present both in a very consistent supply – crucial qualities of any franchise. Ask them about their family roots to Toronto pizza and be ready for a good story. Curiously, they started last year as a pizza truck (which they still successfully operate catering mainly to international

school and chamber events) and let that be their stepping, uumm, stone, to this their first bricks and mortar location that I had the pleasure of sitting down at. As Geoff correctly said, “The food truck business is only a part of a a balanced approach to capturing a larger customer base starting with the large On-Nut/Phra Khanong area with good location based quality pizza at a reasonable price and expand when everything is right.” I look forward to following their franchise story, in a town

with an ever present pizza story. One question: you looking for a picnic table tonight? I know just the place…hockey talk, wine, beer and tales of Saskatoon optional. Like a Rolling Stone… Rolling Stone Pizza. Open every day from 4-10:30pm. ADDRESS – located inside The Beacon Place, Sukhumvit 50 across from Tesco Lotus www.rspizza.com www.facebook.com/pizzarollingstone/ Contact: 092 950 6068 Email: arny@rspizza.com (Rolling Stone Pizza can be booked for private functions. All the pizzas are prepared fresh and cooked on site in a trendy mobile wood-fired oven. The pizza is a healthy thin crust pizza prepared internally using trademark recipes with fresh high quality ingredients sourced from the finest suppliers in Bangkok.)

November – December 2016

13


14

Voyageur


November â&#x20AC;&#x201C; December 2016

15


Opinion

The Force Behind Vivaldi

J

Joseph Henry, is a CanCham board member and Canadian expat who has been living in Bangkok for 18 years. He is the CEO and Founder of Vivaldi Integrated Public Relations. Vivaldi connects companies, organization and brands to customers and stakeholders through digital and social media, events, consumer activations and traditional PR strategies via its networks spanning media, key online influencers, business and government. His firm is a different kind of agency; a sort of hybrid publicist, content creator, strategic marketer, media event organizer and creative mind, with a great record of delivering successful programs for clients. Recently, Voyageur conducted a Q & A with him.

prepackaged stories, including photography and videos for publications, to help boost clients’ digital and social media coverage. Also, an impressive writing portfolio sets us apart; we are known for hiring former journalists. We offer clients comprehensive access and relations with virtually all of Thailand’s leading media nationally via Bangkok and regionally in Phuket, Pattaya/Chonburi and Chiang Mai. More than that we are experts in identifying and working with influencers and online influencers, whether celebrities, accomplished academics, gurus in business or just simply social media magnets with loyal legions of followers. We connect the dots in ways that many others are still trying to figure out.

Please tell us a little about yourself: where you grew up, what you studied, how you ended up in Thailand. I was born in Prince George, BC, an area known as an industries revolving around natural resources like mining and forestry, and so I always had the dream to live in a big city. In Vancouver, I went to Simon Fraser University to study a BBA in Marketing which is well recognized as a top business program. I planned to come Asia to travel only in the first instance, but as fate would have it through a summer job working at Electronic Arts on a contract I was introduced via my boss to a possible opportunity working as a TV presenter overseas. Not really what I had planned, still I jumped at the opportunity. I moved to Hong Kong first to work at TVB network which was an eye opening experience for PG boy. After one year, I ended up in Bangkok on the advice of a friend as it was one of the Asian tiger economies at the time. The excitement of working on a burgeoning frontier really appealed to me. I was introduced to the owner of Central Group through my social connections, and I joined as a marketing manager.

We have a reputation for working with grade A Thai and international clients, including Jaguar Land Rover, TNT, Hilton International, Magnolias Quality Development Corporation, ICONSIAM, Huawei, VietJet and Saint-Gobain.

Why did you start Vivaldi and what were the challenges you faced in the beginning? I started it, first and foremost because I wanted to own my own business in a country that had virtually unlimited potential. I initially researched different industries in which a foreigner could excel here. I was interested in e-commerce, advertising or PR. The ad industry was outstanding and already mature in Thailand in e-commerce was slow with the year 2000 bubble bursting. In PR, I saw it as a subset in the communications industry, thusly with my experience in television journalism and so naturally I could excel in this younger industry with plenty of room to grow. As to the challenges, there are a lot! Starting a company is quite easy in terms of having

16

Voyageur

an idea and registering it, bearing in mind you need a Thai partner. As good fortune would have it I found an excellent Thai business partner with whom we are still colleagues and good friends today. Getting a couple of clients was easy too, but to grow beyond a few good client in to real going concern was more challenging. Finding and retaining talent is the biggest issue and is still a work in progress today. Recruiting capable bilingual Thai staff, offering them a workplace that encourages them to stay and grow with you, and maintaining that delicate balance of happiness vis-a-vis performance are all ongoing challenges. What is unique about your firm? First we specialize in content creation, and so we help clients build strategies around effective content for all mediums—digital, social, traditional media and events. We create

Any advice for Canadians who want to set up a company in Thailand? It is most important for working or setting up a business in Thailand that you really get outside of the cocoon of expat circles. It is essential to learn and live and socialize with Thais and to really understand the cultural ways of thinking. I don’t mean you ignore expat circles, what I mean you have to make an extraordinary effort to meet, befriend, socialize and do business with Thais. My job with Central Group to start was a big advantage here, but also the quality friendships I made though sports was also important. I had virtually no foreign friends for years in the beginning, I just knew lots of dynamic and interesting people from prominent Thai families, and that’s how I started working for Central. From the original young Thai upand-coming social group I had, many turned out to be leaders and CEOs today, and they are still friends. We have the occasional lunch even now, so that really set me on a fast track, an effective path that has made a big difference in the success of Vivaldi. How as a Canadian, do you feel you can help other Canadians with their PR & communication needs in Thailand? It’s really not about myself any more. We have 23 Thai staff, and it comes back to deep relationships we together as a team have built with Thai society and Thai media. Vivaldi has a vast network of contacts, including for all types of media – TV, journalists, editors, all of whom are good friends with our teams. We also maintain in-depth connection to influencers and prominent Thais in all walks of life, from business, to law, to


government, to NGOs. For a Canadian just arriving, they can plug into our expertise and immediate networks and strategies, and enjoy the collective power of people and reach of a team who are more than willing to help. For those more well established, we have experience and can offer communications consultancy and implementation services across many key industries. How has Thailand changed, especially when it comes to marketing, since you first started doing business here? Thailand has changed a lot. We see the penetration of social media affecting Thais in all walks of life, living and breathing digital and social applications. Thai people are already connected through family units and schools. Social media has magnified and expanded these collectives. So what changes now, if you want to communicate about brands, products, even properties or solutions, you must seriously consider using an omnichannel communications strategy that includes typical media like newspapers and magazines, activation events and different digital and social media channels. Training for triathlons has become a big part of your life: please tell us how you became interested in the sport, what motivates you to train so hard, and share with us a few special

memories from some of the triathlons you’ve participated in.

an epiphany of sorts and decided I don’t want to live that party lifestyle anymore.

In my early years in Thailand, I was having fun at parties and fancy events several nights per week. It was a great lifestyle. By my mid 30s it started to take its toll, and I felt burned out, weak, tired and flabby. I could honestly say it was some kind of mid-life crisis. I was longing for the type of lifestyle I had in Prince George and Vancouver, the mountain biking, skiing, hiking or tennis. I decided that enough was enough. I joined the Terry Fox Run Marathon of Hope, and of course Terry Fox became Canada’s beloved superhero. I looked up to him. I did my first 5km and it hurt like hell! I stopped for many months but later decided to train for a half marathon. Half way through training, I had

We were “free range” children! I wanted to go back to my roots in being active. I decided to persevere with athletics and became totally hooked. I worked my way up to every kind of race, the pinnacles being a triple marathon, North Face 100km trail run, IronMan Canada, and more recently, barely missing first place by less than a minute in the Adventure Race at River Kwai in Kanchanaburi. Over the 5-hour race, my teammate and I missed out on first my only a minute, it was heartbreaking. The beautiful thing is there was no such thing as failure with a race like that, so next time we’ll be aiming for first with the lessons learned.

November – December 2016

17


Executive Summary

T

The 2016 Canada-ASEAN Business Outlook survey was designed to assess the opportunities, challenges, and general operating conditions facing Canadian businesses and Southeast Asia-based firms with strong Canadian ties in the ten countries of the ASEAN region. In total, 175 respondents participated in the survey between June and August 2016.

for them relative to other regions over the coming five years.

Firm profiles: Respondents represent a broad range of business interests from the primary through the tertiary sectors. They include multinational corporations (MNCs), small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and business support organizations. Responses were received from all ten ASEAN countries and Canada.

Economic integration initiatives have contributed to the lucrative business environments and are widely supported by respondents. Of the major agreements initiated or in discussion, a CanadaASEAN Free Trade Agreement elicits the most enthusiastic response (72% stating it would positively impact their opera- tions), followed by the TPP (65%). A better understanding of these agreements and their implications for Canadian businesses would enhance the ability of firms to plan for and capture new opportunities.

Business optimism: The growing economic importance of Southeast Asia is reflected in the strong sense of optimism among respondents: fully 94% report being optimistic about the future of their business operations in the ASEAN region. Of those that also conduct business outside of Southeast Asia, 86% expect the importance of the ASEAN region to grow

18

Voyageur

Profitability: 75% of respondents report significant or moderate profits during the past year, with only 10% reporting moderate losses. While there is some variation across countries and firm types, the strong performances are well distributed.

Challenges abound in Southeast Asian markets. Among the most ubiquitous challenges reported by respondents are inconsistent enforcement of laws and

regulations (70%), difficulties of obtaining reliable and cost-efficient skilled labour (70%), corruption (66%), and preferential treatment of local firms (65%). These have a disproportionately strong impact on SMEs. Business support: Respondents viewed the support received by Canadian agencies to be generally high quality. However, support agencies appear underutilized, as many new entrants into the region do not engage their services. This suggests an opportunity to improve business conditions through closer public-private interaction. Financing: A Canadian Development Bank as well as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank are both seen as well situated to address the challenge of securing financing and adequate capital, with 64% and 62% stating support for these. In addition, respondents called on Canadian agencies to offer greater assistance in accessing loans through local financial institutions. Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reputation can be a strong asset in the region, as many respondents noted the generally high regard for Canada.


The GDP growth, the enthusiastic and willing labor force, coupled with low labor rates and inexpensive office space – what’s not to like? 2. Source: International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database, April 2016 Many also report that this can be difficult to leverage, however, because Canada is not adequately visible in key areas of Southeast Asia. Respondents offered a range of suggestions on how Canada could deepen its engagement in the region and allow Canadian interests to more effectively capitalize on the opportunities it offers.

Opportunities for Canadian Businesses Despite being overshadowed by Asia’s giants, China and India, the ASEAN region is frequently cited as among the world’s fastest growing markets. The reasons for this are clear: if treated as a single country, its real GDP growth of 5.3% between 2000 and 2015 trails only China and India among all the world’s countries. It has managed this with relatively low growth volatility (1.5%, relative to: Canada 1.7%; China 1.8%; Brazil 2.2%; India 2.4%; Russia 4.2%), low debt to GDP share (39%, relative to: Brazil 66%; India 67%; Canada 89%; Japan 243%), and a modest inflation rate of 3.2%.2 Due to the opportunities that the region presents, the value of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) entering Southeast Asia reached $120

billion USD in 2013, narrowly overtaking flows into China and far exceeding those into India ($30 billion). There are many reasons to believe that the economic importance of the ASEAN region will continue to increase. Between the 2011 and 2015 period, FDI inflows into ASEAN grew by 42%. Total trade in the region increased by 10% between 2014 and 2015 alone. This expansion in trade has been driven by considerable growth in the trade of services, which has increased by 168% since 2005 following significant improvements in human capital. Further opportunity will follow the expansion of the middle class, which Nielsen estimates will reach over 400 million by 2020, double its 2012 size.

ASEAN is filled with open minded clients who are willing to incorporate new technologies and products.

Firm Optimism: The sentiments of Canadian firms largely reflect this sense of optimism. As captured in Figure 2.1, 94% of respondents report being optimistic about the future of their business in the ASEAN region (50% report “very optimistic” and an additional 44% report “somewhat optimistic”. Only 6% report being “somewhat pessimistic” and none being “very pessimistic”. Interestingly, more than half of those that report some degree of pessimism are Canada-based firms, which suggests obstacles to inter-regional business, rather than unfavourable conditions within Southeast Asia, are the driving factor of their pessimistic sentiments (see appendix 2.1 for breakdown by country cluster). The same analysis by sector suggests that business cycles, particularly the downturn in commodities, are also a factor in the “somewhat pessimistic” responses. This was explicitly noted by some respondents who wrote that the downturn in oil and other commodity prices harmed their operations.

November – December 2016

19


CanCham News

History of the Mekong Cup

T

Two decades ago, a group of Canadian ball hockey players playing on the roof of Bangkok’s AIA building, next to the British Club Bangkok, decided they wanted to stage a tourney in a truly tropical location, so they approached one of their hockey brethren working for a hotel group who set them up at the Amari Coral Beach in Patong, Phuket, and the Mekong Cup was born with a tournament played the Saturday and a lazy day scheduled around pool on Sunday. Originally held in June every year to coincide with the Stanley Cup finals, it was hosted on an abrasive handball court that could withstand play through the worst weather and intense playing condition conditions that Thailand’s rainy season could throw at the teams. The phrase “old time hockey” took on a new meaning in the early days of the Mekong Cup. Richard Meiklejohn was the original driving force behind the Mekong Cup and Thai Stix team, setting the tone for a ball hockey institution that continues to this day. Nicknamed "Reg" after Reg Dunlap, the colorful character played by Paul Newman in Slapshot, he led the squad for the first 5 years. In 1995, the first Mekong Cup was called due to darkness with Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok (the Thai Stix) sharing the title. In the early years, Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, were the three main participants. By the time the torch was passed to John Casella in 2000, the Mekong Cup had moved from the handball to the tennis courts at the Amari. And a number of other refinements were introduced (including regulation nets and referees) to the Mekong Cup over the subsequent years. But the tournament continued to maintain its distinctive unorthodox S.E. Asian flavour. John both organized the Mekong Cup and captained the Thai Stix between 2000 to 2007 before making the switch to running the tourney and reffing through to the 20th annual tournament in 2014. Yves Gaboriault has since taken over the mantle of running the Mekong Cup and continues the fine traditions of this great institution, which makes it such a very special

20

Voyageur

event enjoyed by hockey lovers from all corners of the globe. For the first 17 year of the Mekong Cup, the tournament was staged at the Amari, with the only exception being the 2005 event that was staged at Phuket’s Laguna resort, because the Amari was still making repairs to damage caused

by the 26 Dec 2004 tsunami. Following the tsunami, the International Street & Ball Hockey Federation (ISBHF) was kind enough to replace the nets that had been washed into the Andaman Sea resulting in the Mekong Cup’s first ever regulation set of nets. Then in 2012, Mekong Cup was forced to move venues to the Centara Karon Resort Phuket. where it has been played for the last five years. Over its first 22 years, the Mekong Cup has hosted teams from all around Asia and further afield. From the original three mentioned above, the tournament expanded in its first 10 years to include Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Japan. Hong Kong quickly became

a force to be reckoned, regularly sending two teams (the Nordiques and the Islanders). Over the years, both Bangkok and Singapore have also managed to send two teams each, at times, with Bangkok being represented by the Thai Stix and the Bullies while Singapore has been represented by the Chili Crabs and Pepper Crabs. In the last 10 years, the Mekong Cup has continued to see more new teams enter the fray, including: Cambodia, Slovakia, South Korea, and Montreal. The tournament has also seen regularly attendance from officials of the ISBHF. The Mekong Cup is the longest running ball hockey tournament in Asia and Kelly Cailes, the Executive Director of CanCham Thailand sums it best saying “the Mekong Cup, brings together several Asian countries for a great competition and a great time." A charity auction is held annually during the Mekong’s awards banquet. Called the Vivian Slot Scholarship Fund (http:// www.unizg.hr/vivianscholarship), which is named after the daughter of one of the Mekong Cups players, who tragically lost her life in Phuket during the 2004 tsunami. John Casella weighs in on what the Mekong means to him: “The Mekong Cup is what hockey in Asia is all about. Not only is it loads of fun, but it brings people together from all over the region to celebrate their love for the game, builds long-lasting friendships, and gives something positive back to the community, all at the same time. Everyone wins!”


CanCham News

Meet & Greet with new Ambassador Donica Pottie

D

Donica Pottie was recently named Canada's new Ambassador to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia succeeding Philip Calvert, who returned to Canada. Chamber members had a chance to meet and talk with the new Ambassador at a networking function staged by CanCham at the Westin Grande Sukhumvit in late September.

November â&#x20AC;&#x201C; December 2016

21


CanCham News

Economic Slowdown in Canada?

T

The last couple of months has seen several headlines suggesting that Canada is in economic slowdown. This was largely down to three factors: publication of the latest GDP report, showing Canada’s growth to be the lowest in 60 years; the federal government’s announcement of expansion to the Canada Pension Plan; and rumoured future government intervention to cool down the booming housing market. So is doom and gloom ahead? That all depends on your perspective. Firstly, the “lowest growth in 60 years” (Financial Post, August 2, 2016) is exceptionally misleading. In fact, whilst Canada’s GDP growth can hardly be described as superlative, it’s year-onyear rate is about level with Germany: at the halfway point in G7 rankings. In fact, the 60-year headline comes from the assertion that the economy’s two-year expansion rate of 1.2% is the slowest outside of a recession in the last sixty years. If that last sentence seems long, that’s because there are two many qualifiers in it for it to hold credence. We may not technically be in a recession now but the global economy as a whole is in a perilous state. The world’s richest countries have not properly covered from the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. That’s largely because governments persist in prioritising the reduction of public sector over private sector debt, while central banks attempt to boost debt-ridden consumption by… err… incentivizing banks to provide us with yet more private debt. That includes the Bank of Canada, whose base overnight rate was at 4.5% at the beginning of 2008, has hovered between 1% and 0.25% since January 2009. The federal government itself admits that the proposed expansion of the Canada Pension Plan would reduce economic and employment growth rates. That’s because the changes would gradually increase mandatory contributions. That would further reduce disposable income levels in a country where annual inflation between 2012 and 2015 – the years of the austerity policy – averaged out at

22

Voyageur

just 1.38%. In fairness, Trudeau’s government is politically courageous on this matter. It is effectively exchanging short-term economic gains for a larger retirement pot in the future. If the federal government tries to intervene in the housing market, it would likely do so by increasing interest rates and/or putting stricter requirements on mortgages. This as been widely reported as a threat to the economy. But then that comes from the same mindset that brought us the GFC: let house prices go up, so that the whole economy benefits. The reality was in fact that the banks benefitted and everyone else lost out. A relief in pressure on the house price bubble would not necessarily eliminate the chance of the whole thing bursting but it would at least mitigate against some of the effects when it eventually happens. For that reason, an increase in the base interest rates would be a step in the right direction, if it indeed had the desired effect of making banks charge higher rates for loans. Putting more restrictions on new mortgages would also prevent the private debt rate from increasing. In a world where governments blindly implement a cocktail of zero or negative interest rates, austerity and quantitative easing, despite results showing this is clearly not working, it seems churlish to criticize a government which is actually investing in its people and potentially trying to deflate the housing bubble. However, the issue is that these proposals go nowhere near far enough. If the government really aims to prevent the bubble from happening altogether, reducing interest rates is a step, so is giving more pension protection; but it’ll have to something much more drastic. It will have to invest in education, health and infrastructure – all the things which help increase economic and social well-being. Furthermore, not only it will have to reduce the rate of private debt accumulation but actually diminish the real amounts of private debt people have.

That means paying off people’s debt (and dissuading them from taking on any more) to boost their disposable income. This would open the door for a more measured level of consumption and consequently a healthier economy landscape. If that sounds like a flight of fancy, it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s only in relatively recent years that this kind of solution has refused to be considered. In the past it has been a regular occurrence and even since the GFC it has happened in Croatia and Singapore. In these times of globalisation, such a policy may not prevent all of the knockon effects of anther global economic meltdown – which I see as likely to happen if the majority of wealthy countries’ governments continue on their current economic policy path. What my suggestions would do, though, is provide some form of economic firewall to Canadians, while the rest of the world is in meltdown. That would no only provide protection but also opportunity.

Paul Gambles, co-founder of MBMG Group MBMG Group is an advisory firm that assists expatriates and locals within the South East 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. For more information: Tel: +66 2665 2536 e-mail: info@mbmg-group.com Linkedin: MBMG Group Twitter: @MBMGIntl Facebook: /MBMGGroup

Please Note: While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained herein is correct, I cannot be held responsible for any errors that may occur. My views may not necessarily reflect the house view of MBMG Group. Views and opinions expressed herein may change with market conditions and should not be used in isolation.


November â&#x20AC;&#x201C; December 2016

23


Profile for CanCham Thailand

Voyageur November December 2016  

Voyageur November December 2016  

Advertisement