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July - September 2015

#05/2015


ISB Grade 2 - 1966

International School Bangkok Bringing out the passion in each of us since 1951. www.isb.ac.th


Calendar

TCCC

Calendar of events: 2015/2016 TCCC Executives Patron:

H.E. Philip Calvert Ambassador of Canada to Thailand

Officers: President – Ron Livingston Vice President – Derek van Pelt Vice President – John Stevens Treasurer – John Casella Secretary – Dean Outerson Executive Board:

Peter Bessey Surachit (Art) Chanovan Joseph Henry Andrew Kloosterhuis David A. F. Macdonald James MacDonald James McCracken Angus Mitchell Michael White

Embassy Representative:

WHEN: Wednesday 19 August WHAT: Canuck Connections WHERE: The Drunken Leprechaun at Four Points by Sheraton PRICE: THB 300 members, THB 500 non-members (including finger food) WHEN: Wednesday 26 August WHAT: AEC and impact on Thailand’s HR opportunities and challenge PRICE: THB 900 members, THB 1,200 non-members (including finger food and free flow beer & wine) WHEN: Wednesday 9 September WHAT: Ways new digital marketing can kick start your business success

Yvonne Chin

Advisors:

Sean Brady Sam Cohen Kobsak Duangdee Don Lavoie Peter van Haren Picharn Sukparangsee

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. Editor: Thai-Canadian Chamber of Commerce 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

WHEN: Wednesday 16 September WHAT: Canuck Connections PRICE: THB 300 members, THB 500 non-members (including finger food) Check www.tccc.or.th for further details on each event and to book and pay online.

Gold – THB 50,000 plus VAT Silver – THB 30,000 plus VAT Bronze – THB 20,000 plus VAT Some benefits include: - Pre & post event branding exposure on print, web and social media - Logo on stage and at event venue - Complimentary tickets (gold & silver) - And others….

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

July - September 2015

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TCCC News

Linking Canada & Thailand’s

Agri-Food Sectors Background

and agri-food items. As such there are niche-market opportunities for Canadian suppliers in lobster, seed and non-seed potatoes, fish and seafood, maple syrup, and other specialty items.

Agriculture is the largest economic sector in Thailand and it is a developed and growing industry, employing 40% of the work force. The agricultural sector contributes roughly $46.8 billion or 12% of the total GDP of the Thai economy. The growing middle class (US$6$20/day) making up nearly 55% of the population has led to a growth in demand for processed and prepackaged food. This has led to an increase in supermarkets and convenience stores. Top market-share holders in the packaged food industry include Nestlé SA, Unilever Group, and Ajinomoto Co. Inc.

Why Canada? Canada is one of the world’s top five agricultural exporters, exporting approximately 45% of its domestic food and agricultural production, worth over $40 billion, to over 180 countries around the world. Canada's food and agriculture products are as diverse as its land, its people and its seasons. From primary producers on the farm or the fishing boat to high-tech processing and manufacturing facilities, to after-market and technical expertise, Today, supermarkets and convenience stores are the source of over 70% of prepackaged food and beverage consumer sales in Thailand while street food stalls remain the largest foodservice providers, followed by fast food and full-service restaurants. Thailand is the fourth largest export market in Southeast Asia for Canadian agri-food and seafood products. Top exports to Thailand are non-durum wheat, soybeans, canola meal, animal feed, potatoes, and fish & seafood. Thailand’s large and expanding market with its growing middle class creates a large potential market for Canadian products, especially as Canada’s food and agriculture industry enjoys a global reputation for purity and high quality. Thailand’s strong food processing sector creates a need for input materials and ingredients and the increase in supermarket chains has increased the capacity to import Canadian food

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TCCC News Gourmet Market to feature “Taste of Canada” The Canadian Embassy, in partnership with The Mall Group, has announced it will stage a Canadian food festival entitled “Taste of Canada – Quality at the Source” at three high-end Gourmet Markets (Siam Paragon, Emporium and EmQuartier) in Bangkok. The event will run from August 6-19 with the official opening on August 7th with a celebrity chef amongst other guests. There will be a wide variety of Canadian products available including fish and seafood, blueberries, cherries, quinoa flour, premium-grade flax seed & oil, organic soy milk, almond milk, maple syrup, Whistler mineral water, DARE cookies, apple crisps, beef, smoked salmon, & Iceberg beer.

Other events

Canada's industry is built on leadingedge research. Canada boasts leading technology and knowledgeable people committed to providing the products and services you need. The strong network of food and agriculture research facilities that exists in Canada links public and private-sector resources focusing on continuously improving Canadian products and processes.

Key regional food events with Canadian participation include the annual Wheat New Crop Assessment Seminar to be held in Bangkok this November; and the Canada Pavilion at Food Hotel Asia to be held in Singapore, 12-15 April 2016, with approximately 30 Canadian exhibitors. Others include the China Fisheries & Seafood Expo, held from 4-6 November this year in Qingdao with 30-40 Canadian companies participating; and THAIFEX, a food show held every May in Bangkok, with Food Gallery, a local importer, representing products from five Canadian companies. For more information on where you can get Canadian products in Thailand please contact Trade Commissioner Surin Thanalertkul at the Canadian Embassy in Bangkok at: Surin. Thanalertkul@international.gc.ca.

Canada’s vast and varied geography gives it a unique advantage in the production of a diverse range of highquality food products and ingredients and Canada is the world’s largest exporter of flax seed, canola, pulses, and durum wheat. Canada also has top health and safety measures in place within its agricultural and food & beverage sector to produce safe and high-quality products, which Canadian consumers have come to expect. Canada continues to lead in the creation and development of sustainable farming practices and is also a leader in the ground-breaking research of minimizing the impacts of agricultural nitrates on ground water and soil. In Thailand, however, Canadian export opportunities in the agriculture and food sectors are hindered by high import duties and low-volume tariff quotas. The physical distance causes food shipment issues due to high costs and long shipment times. And the lack of a free trade agreement hinders Canadian businesses when pitted against regional competitors who do have such agreements.

July - September 2015

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TCCC News

Canada’s profile in Thailand, Laos & Cambodia

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The Canadian Ambassador to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia HE Philip Calvert recently spoke at an informal gathering hosted by the TCCC at Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok. TCCC Vice-President Derek van Pelt introduced the ambassador who has been with Foreign Affairs since 1982, and well versed in Asian affairs, spending much of his diplomatic life in this part of the world. The ambassador started his talk by highlight the importance of engaging ASEAN with its 600 million people and average growth rate of 5 percent, noting that Thailand was still a key player in the region. He shared that what struck him most upon arriving in-country was the breadth of Canada’s relationship with Thailand and how comprehensive it was from political co-operation to migrant smuggling to security and defense. However there is scope to do more with potential in business, politics, education and people ties. Noting that Canada’s official ties with Thailand date back 54 years, the ambassador said Canada is known for the work CIDA did helping to start the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), the Petroleum Training Institute and the Mekong Institute. Canada is also known for the University of Regina’s help in establishing the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Khon Kaen. All these were a result of personal and educational ties that were set up and strengthened long before formal diplomatic ties were established. Thailand remains Canada’s largest bi-lateral trading partner in the region, with trade last year growing by 6% (CAN$780 million in exports, CAN$2.5 billion in imports for a total trade value of CAN$3.5 billion). The ambassador noted that the Thai Board of Trade trip to Canada in late 2014 led to an unprecedented growth of business connections. The Canadian government places importance on bilateral relationship and sees a two-way trade and investment as a means of establishing and sustaining a healthy economic environment. Exploratory free-trade talks between Canada and Thailand were launched in March of 2012, and have not moved forward at lightning speed, mainly due to the domestic political conflict. The ambassador pointed that Canada’s trade has grown elsewhere with the Comprehensive Trade and Economic Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU; the Canada-South Korea free

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trade agreement; exploratory discussions with the Japanese government about an economic partnership agreement; as well as the ongoing Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations that Canada is heavily involved in. One of the reasons that the CanadaThailand trade relationship was not living up to its potential was a lack of profile on both sides, partly because of images based on stereotypes, e.g. Canadians thinking Thailand is one big beach and Thais thinking Canada is a big snowstorm. Both Canada and Thailand have to work on breaking down those stereotypes. For example: how many Canadians know more cars are manufactured in Thailand than in Canada? Or how many Thais know Canada makes great wines that win international awards? Before the coup, the Embassy was working on raising the profile of the two countries. Since the coup, some people claim there has been a “chill in relations”, which isn’t necessarily so— there are simply restrictions on engagement at certain levels, especially minister-to-minister engagement. Engagements continue at the operational levels. These will be removed once a democratically-elected government is in place. When it comes to human rights issues, the lynchpin of the Embassy’s discussions with the Thai government has not been to impose Canada’s values but to remind Thailand what it has committed to internationally as a country: to respect the freedom of assembly, the freedom of speech and the freedom of the media. The Canadian Embassy is also working on a Canada Fund program to establish a better dialogue to support peace-building and constructive engagement in southern Thailand, which also includes minority issues, religious freedom and freedom of expression. Moving forward, Canada and Thailand must develop an ongoing senior-level dialogue where issues can be addressed regularly and not just when problems arise. He also wants to build more “architecture” into Canada’s relationship with Thailand establishing more accords and finalizing the FTA. He wants the Thais to be more aware of sectors Canada has expertise in such as infrastructure development, clean energy, technology, aerospace, ICT, education and public-private partnerships.

Canadian business community need to focus on reaching out beyond Bangkok, to see where other opportunities and potential partnerships lie and the need for city-to-city and province-to-province relationships. Education ties that are made are the ones that sustain and carry on; so there needs to be a more sustained effort on Canada’s part to provide more scholarships for Thai students to study in Canada and to promote Canadian universities as an affordable, better and safer educational option. The ambassador then spoke about Cambodia saying Canada is highly regarded there because of Canada’s participation in the Geneva Accords, training of scholars through CIDA, demining efforts, and offering assistance in organizing land registration. He sees a lot of potential for Canadian companies in areas such as ICT, resource development and financial services. On the political side, Canada can share experience on how Cambodians can better protect the rights of their opposition parties and parliamentary functions. Moving on to Laos, Ambassador Calvert indicated that there are some opportunities for Canadian companies to have a positive impact in the country. Canada, already branded as a responsible government partner, could position itself as a country Laos should talk to about managing the wealth of its natural resources properly. Since Laos will be the host of ASEAN in 2016, Canada is happy to help Laos prepare for that event, and our new aidtrade development facility, which builds commercial capacity, could be a big help in both Laos and Cambodia. The ambassador announced that by the end of the year Canada would have permanent representation in both Phnom Penh and Vientiane, looking after political, trade and consular matters. In Phnom Penh, a Canadian diplomat and two locally-hired staff, including a trade commissioner, will work out of the British Embassy; while in Vientiane, a Canadian diplomat and Laotian staff will be based in the Australian Embassy. After taking a few questions from the floor, TCCC Treasurer John Casella thanked the ambassador for his time. Participants concurred that the event was successful and expressed appreciation for the insights shared by the ambassador and his openness and approachable style.


TCCC news

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A thank you to all our sponsors, partners, volunteers and the organising committee for banding together to make this year’s Canada Day, held at NIST International School, a great success.

Celebrating Canada’s 148th birthday

Thank you to all our partners and sponsors

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TCCC news

Ratanawadee Hemnithi Winther on balancing a successful career and family Khun Ratanawadee, Chairperson for the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation, and wife of the Danish Ambassador to Thailand, shared stories about being an expat, a professional career woman managing a family life, as well as snippets of reverse culture shock from being back in Thailand after years of travelling and living overseas. Thanks to our sponsors, the MBMG Group and Charcoal Bkk, for making this Professional Women's Group networking event a success. Thank you to our sponsors

The What, Why & How of Working with Bloggers to Build your Brand

Joseph Henry of Vivaldi PR recently held a talk, followed by networking, on working with bloggers to build your brand. Jay Bunnag and the folks at Flowhouse Bangkok kindly hosted the event.

Thank you to our sponsor

July - September 2015

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infinity

the history and evolution of the world the thoughts and graphic narration of children 9 to 11 years

THE EARLY LEARNING CENTRE FAMILY OF SCHOOLS THE CITY SCHOOL Ages 3-11 years #18 Soi Arkaphat, Sukhumvit Road 49/4, Bangkok 10110 Tel: (662) 381-2919, 391-5901, 712-5338 Fax: (662) 391-1334

THE COUNTRY SCHOOL Ages 2-5 years #44, Samakee Road 20, T.Tasai, Muang Nonthaburi 11000 Tel: (662) 588-1063, 952-4147 Fax: (662) 589-4809

www.elc-bangkok.com culture and architecture

THE PURPLE ELEPHANT Ages 18-36 months #44 Soi 53/1, Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok 10110 Tel: (662) 662-7653, 662-7654 Fax: (662) 260-5947

CHEZ NOODLES Ages 18-36 months #61 Soi Prommitr, Sukhumvit Road 39, Bangkok 10110 Tel: (662) 662-4570, 662-4571, Fax: (662) 662-4572

inquiries@elc-bangkok.com


Member Profile

What’s new at the British Club?

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The old corridor on the second floor at the back of the club has also been restored, turning it an old-fashioned balcony bar with swirling overhead fans. The Club also installed a multi-purpose court at the back of the club where TCCC members play ball hockey; the area is equipped with a scoreboard and new changing rooms. And it has also opened the Pavilion Café at the end of the tennis courts off Suriwongse Road, which allows non-members to sample the great British Club fare at the same prices offered inside the Club.

Voyageur recently sat down with Paul Cheesman, the Honorary Secretary of the British Club Bangkok, to get a better idea of the latest developments at the Club and its benefits for Canadians. Paul has held this post for the past 11 of 16 years so he has a good knowledge of all that is happening at the Club. Paul tell us the British Club was founded in 1903 and from the start Canadians (along with the British, Australians and New Zealanders), have been full members, so they have had voting rights. Paul explains that the land the British Club is situated on was bequeathed by King Rama VI for “the benefit of the British peoples in Thailand” hence they keep the name “British” and they keep the majority of the voting members “British”. The land cannot be sold and it is owned by the ordinary members of the club. The British Club gives the British, and its related membership, something no other nationality in Thailand has — a club on its own ground. Being 112-years old, the Club has very old traditions, thus to join you need to be proposed and then interviewed. A proposal for membership works like this: a prospective member is recommended by a “full or annual member”; that prospective member is then interviewed by a committee member, then if they pass the interview they are put up to the 10-person general committee (elected annually) for proposal and they are put on the notice board for a month to see if there are any objections to their membership. If all goes smoothly, they are elected as a full member (applicants are given temporary membership in the meantime so they can use the Club from the day they apply). Membership stands at about 1,120: approximately 600 British nationals, 120 Americans; 100 Australians, 100 Thais, 50 French, 50 Indians, 40 Canadians, 14 New Zealanders and 1 to 3 members of some 30

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Paul Cheesman other nationalities. One-third of the members are married and another third have children under 21 (there are about 600 kids). The total number of people, including spouses and children, stands at 2,565, as of last year. Members are allowed three guests. Paul estimates that about 200 of the members live outside the greater Bangkok area and about 100 people use the Club five times a week, or more. Some come twice a year, some twice a day. Paul says that a lot of money has been spent on renovations over the last three years, which followed a period of “serious retrenching”. The Club has embarked on a series of small projects that would allow them to bring in local contractors and enhance the facilities. Examples include a new Sala, renovating the swimming pool for the first time since 1965, a new fitness centre, a Pétanque court (at the request of Canadian members) and a disabled lift on the side of the club. In addition all the kitchens and storerooms have been refitted.

Other activities include “50 over” cricket as well as “6-man fireball” cricket; 5- aside football as well as golf and for the less active bridge, the dice game Balut and spoof (a chance-based coin game). There’s also cinema and theatre nights and wine-tastings every month as well as gourmet dinners and the BC celebrates all the major festivals, both Thai and Western, e.g., during Easter, there would be an Easter Egg hunt for the kids. There’s an annual black-tie dinner for Trafalgar Day and this year there will be a big do celebrating the bicentennial of the Battle of Waterloo. As well as the Club and its facilities, the British Club has a reciprocity agreements with 25 Canadian clubs scattered throughout eight Canadian provinces. “There are some really good and well-respected clubs in that list,” Paul says. What this means is that any member of the British Club can make use of the facilities at the reciprocal Canadian Clubs for up to 30 days a year. There are some exceptions such as the Terminal City Club in Vancouver, which limits the reciprocity to 14 days (http:// www.britishclubbangkok.org/index.php/ associated-with-us/reciprocal-clubs/africagulf-the-americas/2-uncategorised/91canada). The British Club has long been a green


Member Profile

oasis in the heart of the city. It’s also been a favourite haunt for many TCCC members over the.

Snippets of BC History The British Club Bangkok was founded on 23rd April (St.George’s Day) 1903 by a small group of British businessmen and diplomatic civil servants, in order to create a social club in the style enjoyed by their peers in the British Colonies throughout Asia. The founding fathers, as it was solely a male preserve, were drawn from the British Diplomatic Mission and various companies like The Borneo Company, Louis T. Leonowens, The Anglo-Thai Company and Tilleke & Gibbins, the latter of which would play a significant role in the later years of club history as well. It was initially set up as a debenture membership and was restricted only to the directors and senior managers of those companies, other minions only allowed in as guests. British interests in Siam and thus those of the club were cut short in December 1941 when the Japanese invaded Siam and The British Club Bangkok ceased operation until 1946.

The Club was turned into an Officer’s mess and those members who had been unable to escape were interned in one of a number of camps set up in and around Bangkok. Although British and US bombers did bomb Bangkok, there was no report of the club ever being hit, however the departing army in 1945 did excessive damage to the fabric of the property. The Club was lucky in one aspect; its two land leases were mortgaged to the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank thus survived the war and enabled The Club to eventually claim back the property afterward. After the end of the Second World War, there was some local confusion over the ownership of premises, which was initially given to the YMCA. It took a number of months but eventually one Brigadier Victor Jacques obtained the leases from the bank and ownership was restored. Victor Jacques was a retired military man from the First World War who was a partner at Tilleke & Gibbins. At the start of the war in Asia he rejoined the British Army in India and was attached to the Free Thai Movement. After the liberation of Bangkok, he became British Commander here and then rejoined Tilleke & Gibbins. Upon returning to civilian life he called together as many past club members

as he could and set about re-establishing it. He also wrote the first post-war Constitution, served as Chairman until 1947 and set the club on track to its first century. As part of the War reparations paid by the Siam Ministry of the Interior to the Club, the Club imported two Billiards tables made by Mssrs W. Jelks & Son of Holloway, London for the grand cost of £528 5s 6d. The club membership was also changing: the club was refounded after the war with only four nationalities allowed membership – the core nationalities of British, Australian, New Zealand and Canadian. In the seventies, this was changed to allow a limited number of other nationalities to join as Associate members. In addition, the eighties saw women being allowed to have membership in their own right and children became an everyday part of the club – the days of the British male bastion were gone, forever! In 2005, the Club saw the election of a woman as the Club’s chairman – the first in 102 years – something the founders would never have envisaged in their just post Victorian world – and in 2007 the BC elected its first Australian chairman. www.britishclubbangkok.com

Calling out to Thai-Canadian alumni Are you a Thai national? Have you previously studied and/or received professional training in Canada? Are you back in Thailand and working in a professional position? If so, the Canadian Embassy in Thailand would like to hear from you! The Embassy of Canada in Thailand is currently looking to expand its Alumni database of Thai nationals who have studied or been professionally trained in Canada. This database will allow it to increase its engagement with the Thai Alumni of Canadian institutions and foster closer ties between the two countries. Being part of this network represents an opportunity for you to engage with fellow Alumnus and members of the business community including with members of the Thai-Canadian Chamber of Commerce and our partners, the occasion to share your experience studying overseas with Thai students and to keep abreast of our upcoming events and activities.

If all this appeals to you, please send an email to BNGKK.Alumni@international.gc.ca with the following information: • • • • •

Full Name Company of Employment Job Title Preferred Email Address and Phone Number Canadian educational institution attended (for education and/ or professional training) • Year of graduation from Canadian educational institution Please note that your personal information will be entered in our internal alumni database and will only be used to provide periodic updates on Canada’s activities and interests in Thailand and any upcoming networking events. July - September 2015

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Thailand Welcomes Class

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On 4 December 2015 Thailand’s Civil Procedure Code will include provisions for class-actions, which were not previously permitted under Thailand’s legal regime. Our article this month explains how typical class action legislation works and the impact this new law will have on business operators in Thailand. We conclude by providing you with a practical step-by-step guide on how to launch class actions in Thailand. What is a “class action”? A class action is a type of lawsuit in which one or a group of individuals sues a defendant on behalf of a larger group. There are certain elements which are common to all class actions across all jurisdictions where such laws exist. These include: 1. The dispute issues are common to all members of the class; and 2. Those affected are so large in number, that it would be impractical (and surely a waste of the court’s time) for each person to bring a separate lawsuit against the defendant. For the benefit of those who are still probably scratching their heads in confusion we provide some good examples of class actions: – Consumers harmed by defective products (e.g. a car model with an manufacturing defect); – Homeowners affected by large development projects such as dams and factories; – A group of employees being subjected to racial, age, or

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gender discrimination by their employer. The final question we ask this month is: What does this mean for business operators? At this early stage the precise impact of the new provisions remain unclear. Though the scope of a class action laws’ impact can only be determined after testing in the courts, some businesses may be at a higher risk after the passage of this law than others. This higher risk will probably mean higher insurance premiums. This will affect smaller businesses more than larger corporations. And unlike bigger corporations, small businesses may not have the luxury of in- house counsel to handle classactions. As such, higher legal costs will be involved in engaging outside legal counsel. Commentators have argued that the introduction of a class action law in Thailand will decrease Thailand’s attractiveness as a business destination and impact future foreign investments. We don’t believe this is an accurate statement. In many ways providing better legal recourse to groups affected by faulty products or other typical class action cases will improve the standing of the Thai legal system. As class action laws exist all over the world, many companies are familiar with the risks and how to address these. It will also have a positive effect for consumers because companies will become extra cautious about introducing new products to the market since selling products which are unsafe will expose these com-

panies to class action law suits. Corporations will have to act more responsibly and this can only be viewed as a good development. Step by Step Guide: Thailand’s class action legislation includes elements mentioned above though it varies in some respects from other U.S. and Common Law class action laws. Numerous international statutes permit class actions to be brought in regard to any subject matter. Thailand has decided to limit its focus on tortious claims (negligence etc.), breach of contract claims and “claims of legal rights” (which are laws generally passed to protect the public (i.e. environmental laws, consumer protection laws, labor laws and securities and exchange and trade competition laws). The first step is to find a “class” of individuals and then, determine whether the courts will permit a class action in relation to the claim. Step 1 Identifying a Class To kick-off a class action one needs to satisfy certain conditions: (a) Identifying whether a class exists; (b) whether the dispute is common among the members of the class; and (c) whether the courts are willing to hear your claim as a class. Step 2 Selecting a Court If you have decided that a class action law suit is appropriate for you and your group’s claim, the next stage is to approach the courts. But which Court? The jurisdiction for class actions is


Action Lawsuits subject to the Court which is empowered to hear an individual on the same matter *except municipal court (kwaeng court).The class actions concerning certain specific matters such as the administrative decisions, the labor dispute and trade protection disputes, shall be brought to the relevant courts (i.e. the Administrative Court, Labour court and the Intellectual Property and International Trade Court). Step 3 Obtaining Certification Before proceeding with legal action, the class of plaintiffs, who have now determined which Court to proceed under, must demonstrate to the Court that there exists a “group of people” who carry common rights, facts and base their legal claims on common ground (despite their “injury” varying from person to person). The second point demonstrated to a Court under Section 222/8 of the Civil Procedure Code is that bringing individual actions (as opposed to actions brought as a class) would be “troublesome and inconvenient” and that bringing the action as a class of individuals will result in “better justice and efficiency”. Subject to these conditions, the Court considers whether the class action should be heard. While there may be instances where the court prevents the class action from moving forward, the Civil Procedure Code states that an interlocutory appeal can be filed to ensure that the class’ facts are heard thoroughly. Step 4 Appointment of Class Action Officer

Once the “pre-class action phase” is successfully completed and the class action has been certified by the court, the next stage is to submit to the court the plaintiffs’ desired remedy. The Court, prior to the trial, will appoint a “class action office” (sometimes referred to as an “executing officer”) whose job involves assisting the Court by attempting mediation, collecting and verifying evidence, meeting with witnesses and taking statements before and during the trial. During this phase, if “class members” decide that the class action remedy does not best suit their needs, they have a period of forty-five days to withdraw from the “class”. It is not uncommon for individuals to withdraw from a “class” following a few rounds of mediation between the parties Step 5 Pre-trial Notification Before the trial, it is required that notification be provided to the public that a class action lawsuit will be taking place and any other individuals (with the same facts and grievances) may apply to join the group filing the lawsuit. Notification is to be posted a public newspaper for a period of three continuous days. The court may, in its discretion, permit such notice to be distributed via mass media or in any other form deemed appropriate by the court. Step 6 Going to Trial From a procedural standpoint, the trial portion of class actions is not very different from ordinary civil actions. You can expect the same process of mediation, submission of evidence, hearing of witnesses and finally a delivery of judgment.

Step 7 Obtaining a Judgment If the court decides in the favor of the class of plaintiffs, then a judgment will include the class’ lawyer fees along with the payment of damages to all class members individually (based on the formula submitted to the Courts). Section 222/37 authorizes the court can consider and prescribe percentage of total monetary awards up to 30% as the attorney fees. We hope that the above information has been useful to you and your understanding of class action lawsuits and their introduction into the Thai legal system.

Authors:

Marcus Collins, Partner (marcus.collins@dfdl.com)

Chartchai Piriyapanyaporn, Senior Legal Adviser (chartchai@dfdl.com)

Kunal Sachdev, Adviser (kunal@dfdl.com) July - September 2015

15


Stimulus or stupidity? By Paul Gambles

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In an attempt to boost the economy through cheaper lending, the Bank of Canada lowered its benchmark interest rate to 0.5% in July. Will this stimulate banks to lower rates? Even if it does, would that help the economy?

When the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets went on a 3-week plummet in June and July, the world took notice. Whilst few foreign investors were directly exposed to these markets,1 it is impacting the global economy. The two Chinese markets lost an estimated CAD 4.21 trillion between 12th July 2012 and 9th July 2015.2 Put into context, the Greek state owes international creditors around CAD 352 billion3 - some 12 times less. China’s stock price bubble burst affects the global economy because Chinese businesses buy raw materials in huge quantities from all over the world. In 2014, around 4% of Canada’s total exports were sold to China and almost 7% of imports were bought from there. Somewhere in the region of 57% of Canada’s exports to China were made up of raw materials, such as wood, pulp, seed and mineral fuels.4 Events in China also have an indirect effect: for example, Canada’s largest trade partner5 – the US – sold 7.6% of its exports to China in 2014 and relied on it for just under 20% of its imports.6 Added to that is the unquantifiable mood of investors. Fears of a sustained economic downturn seems to have precipitated huge selling of metals in early July: copper prices hit six-year lows on 6th July, for instance.7 If that doesn’t make life difficult enough for Canada, the drop in oil and natural gas prices over the last year (49% and 39% respectively)8 adds further pressure. Consequently, Canadian GDP for the oil & gas extraction, mining and quarrying sector was down a worrying 6.4% year-on-year in April this year.9 Of course it is possible that, if a country’s economy is diversified, is well managed and local markets are not too erratic, external factors can be deflected or even become an opportunity. However, there is concern at the Bank of Canada. The economy actually shrank slightly (-0.1% quarter-on-quarter) in Q1 of 2015 and, although retail consumption is not disastrous, it is fragile.10 What is particularly worrying is the large amount of household debt in Canada. While the household debt-to-income11 ratio decreased by 0.3% in Q1 2015, compared with the previous quarter, the stark fact remains that debt stands at 163.3% of disposable

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Sources: Statistics Canada & Teranet income. The average household apparently owes more than CAD 92,000.12 Some of that debt can be explained by (and also explains) the steady but persistent rise in house prices in Canadian cities in recent years – a rise which is way above overall inflation (see chart). The amount of debt that Canadian individuals (and corporations) are carrying is ultimately a major determinant in their capacity and willingness to both spend and invest. Once they have to slow down the rate at which they take on more debt, the economy will slow or even contract. In a situation where the capacity and appetite for taking on more debt is constrained, a central bank is essentially faced with 2 choices: 1. Recognize the reality and face up to a recession that you need to have, in which debt levels are re-set lower, bad and doubtful debts are dealt with and the price of assets that are sensitive to leverage (such as property and equities) adjust sharply lower to reflect the new realities. or 2. Try to find ways to continue the debt-fuelled late stage boom by making access to further credit available, affordable and attractive. This would drive the price of leveraged assets up even higher, ‘kicking the can’ down the road until a much larger bubble has to be addressed at an even later stage. The Bank of Canada seems to have followed

the lead of many other central banks over the last few decades and opted for the former more popular and more expedient solution. For five years, its base rate was 1%, then cut to 0.75% in January this year,13 before being lowered further to 0.5% in July. Unfortunately this is just another example of a central bank going close to zero interest rates. This policy has been tried out in the US and the Eurozone in recent years. It has also been implemented in Japan since 1989, giving us a clearer idea of its impact. The Bank of Japan’s attempt to stimulate the economy by making borrowing inexpensive certainly gave the private sector sustained incentives to take on more debt.14 The problem was, and still is, that easy access to cheap credit keeps prices low. In April this year: the price of Japan’s most popular ketchup brand was finally increased for the first time in 25 years.15 However, if prices


remain low for a sustained period, so do profits. This in turn means that employers keep salaries low and therefore people have comparatively less money to spend, as they attempt to pay off their debts. As the graph shows, rather than low prices encouraging people to buy more goods, Japan has seen a direct correlation between low prices and low consumption. There’s even an argument that three lost decades in Japan have contributed to the falling birth rate and helped foster Japan’s huge demographic challenges. Back in January, Prof. Steve Keen – my colleague at the economics think-tank IDEA Economics – suggested that the US was ‘turning Japanese.’16 At the time I’d hoped that, having avoided the temptation of quantitative easing, Canada seemed to be getting it right. However talk of the central bank starting a programme of its own artificial stimulus is very worrying to say the least.17 QE merely gives the impression that the economy is working well but once this support system is taken away, consumption drops again. How do we know this? Because this is what has happened in Japan, the US and Europe and even central bankers admit it doesn’t work.18 The chart shows that QE in the US pushed up stock prices, which fell again once QE was removed. Thus even if the belief of Ben Bernanke and his like, that stock prices boost employment,19 actually turns out to be correct – though I doubt that very much – QE doesn’t even have that effect, except in the very immediate term. So don’t cheer too loudly if it seems that the rate cuts are working in Canada or if a full-blown QE response is implemented and pushes real estate prices or the TSE higher. That’s more likely to be a sell signal, as under the surface these policies do far more long term damage than the relatively small short term good they achieve. It’s time to think again.

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/07/08/asia/china-stocks-explainer/ ibid 3 http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/28/us-eurozone-greece-debt-factbox -idUSKCN0P80XW20150628 4 Statistics Canada 5 ibid 6 US Census Bureau 7 http://data.cnbc.com/quotes/%40HG.1 8 St Louis Federal Reserve 9 Statistics Canada 10 idem 11 http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/canada-s-debt-to-income-ratio-inches-down-to -163-3-1.3110720 12 http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/bank-of-canada-rate-cut-unlikely-to-lower-mortgage -loan-rates-much-1.3152697 13 idem 14 http://www.ideaeconomics.org/blog/2015/1/13/steve-keens-2015-outlook 15 http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/02/10/uk-japan-economy-ketchupidUKKBN0LE07K20150210 16 http://www.ideaeconomics.org/blog/2015/1/13/steve-keens-2015-outlook 17 http://business.financialpost.com/investing/will-the-bank-of-canada-have-to-startlooking-at-qe-soon 18 http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/01/even-central-bank-gurus-now-say-qedoesnt-work.html 19 http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2012-10-02/bernanke-seeks-gains-forstocks-in-push-for-jobs-economy 1 2

Paul Gambles is co-founder of MBMG Group and can be reached at: Tel: +66 2665 2536 E-mail: info@mbmg-group.com 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.

July - September 2015

17


member profile

ABM - The Marketing & Communication Experts

V

Voyageur recently sat down with Steve Vincent, the Managing Director of Aziam BursonMarsteller (ABM), to discuss the origins and growth of his company. Burson-Marsteller (BM) is a global network, started by Harold Burson and Bill Marsteller back in the 1950s. In 1986, BM opened a branch in Thailand, and in 1988 BM moved into its current location at the Alma Link Building on Soi Childlom. Steve joined the firm in 1996 and in 1998 he and his wife bought the company from BM New York. By that time, BM the company was owned by Young & Rubicam (Y & R) and it was it going public, so most several of the BM satellites located in Asia and Europe had a majority buy-out and became locally owned. ABM still remains an affiliate of BM. “Aziam” actually has no meaning; it was meant to be “Asiam”, and Steve just wanted the company to start with an “A” so he and his staff came up with a name that means a combination of Asia, Siam and an A to Z range of communications services.(maybe it a bit more of an explanation) Today, ABM is still part of BM, which has 150 offices worldwide, and it also is part of the WPP Group, one of the world’s most comprehensive communication services groups. As such, it has access to a global group of companies and brings industry-leading practices and knowledge to the unique needs of the Thai market. Sometimes Thai companies approach ABM specifically because of its ties to this global group in Europe and North America. The Canadian Connection ABM has 43 staff including 3 Canadians: Steve, who has been with the company for 20119 years; James Best, who has been with the company for 24 almost 16 years; and Tom Poldre, who has been with the firm for 18 months. The other expat, American Tom Jeremy Plotnick, has been in and out of Thailand for 15 years. The point is that ABM’s foreign presence is long-term (Steve is a permanent resident of Thailand). “Many of our international competitors have senior management who fly in and spend a year or two here then leave. We are long-time residents, so don’t fly in and out; we know the local market very well. We are pretty deep into Thailand,” Steve says. Steve was born in Picton, Ontario, but grew up in London, attending Fanshawe College there before going to work in Toronto. He’s been involved in advertising/marketing/ communications/PR/writing all his adult life. Before he came here, he was working as a freelance marketing writer and had a client that exported Canadian technology to Asia who needed support preparing marketing materials. That eventually led to Steve travelling to several countries in Asia, primarily Singapore, where he spent about 4 & ½

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Steve Vincent and ABM marketing team

years, going to work for a company called Recognition Public Relations (based out of Sydney) when his original client returned to Canada. While working in Singapore, Steve met his wife on an airplane, as she was Thai it became fortuitous when he was headhunted to work in Bangkok.

ABM takes a longer term view of business; rather than looking at how billable an employee is this week, it looks at the account and sees if it is working for everybody. Steve and his executive director Suvimol Decharkom have the same philosophy “take good care of our people and the rest will fall into place”.

James is from Kingston (Steve had actually gone to public school with his cousin); he went to Queen’s University, came to Thailand for a short trip and loved it, so he moved here. James has been with ABM since 2000 working with the company’s corporate clients. And Tom Poldre is also from the Toronto area. Tom, who has almost three decades of experience in advertising and public relations, heads up ABM’s Active Learning practice, which provides training in all aspects of communications. (maybe a bit more info on James & Tom)

“We focus on people and client delivery; we give our people a lot of independence and don’t pressure them too much support when they need it,” Steve says. “We are driven by client deadlines. If our employees do good work for our clients, we do well as a company.”

The ABM Difference Steve says that PR companies generally have a high turnover rate; it’s the nature of the industry, people tend to stay a year or two with one company, there’s a high burnout rate. But some of ABM’s employees PR consultants have been with the company for two decades. ABM has a stable staff – the average length of employment for a client service team is 5five years (in most Thai firms it’s under a year or two), the overall company average is 10.5 years. “We have a stable staff because we create a good, supportive work environment; our focus is on delivering compliance the best results we can to clients and helping people to do that, not squeezing everything out of them, so I believe our employees have greater job satisfaction,” Steve says. “The management team also does client work all day, every day, so we are very involved with our people, helping them, doing a lot of the work, rather than being out golfing, or sitting in a corner of the office, uninvolved.”

Steve is involved in all aspects of ABM. He guides new business development, works with the marketing and corporate consulting teams on communications strategies, plans and activities. He also helps build new training practices, gets support teams the resources they need and reviews the numbers to keep ABM financially fit. Steve’s desk is where the action is, amid the consulting team. So he can be part of the ongoing flow of ideas, “peek menacingly over the dividers, and crack bad jokes to a captive audience”. ABM is more than just an information distribution center –it is constantly developing new ideas and opportunities, including: intelligence gathering and employing a strategic thinking approach; providing realistic and practical solutions (ABM recommends what works best for its clients); delivering consistently high ROI on client PR spending; and maximizing media relationships to get highervalue coverage. Increasingly, ABM supports its clients in the areas of social media and digital marketing. ABM has high-value relationships with selected clients that value “partnership PR”. Aspects of these relationships include: gaining an understanding of all aspects of a client’s business to make better recommendations; highly experienced, dedicated people deliver-


ing the highest-quality work and best results; and senior management actively involved in a client’s account. ABM will look across a client’s entire organization to find relevant stories and promotions that the client may not have even realize are important. “Clients often don’t even realize all the interesting stories that have to tell,” Steve says. A typical ABM service team consists of a client leader and three team members, who are a mix of consultants and client service co-coordinators drawn from marketing and corporate practices. This team then draws upon the seven ABM support teams (Media Relations, Social Media, Editorial, Media Admin, Design, Training, & Office Services) for help as needed. ABM has approximately 22 long-term clients, the longest being True, who has been with ABM since 2001 when they were known as Orange. Current clients include Unilever, Sermsuk, Rolex, Absolut Vodka, Goody Year, MK Restaurants, the Oishi Group, Boots, DHL, Jets Star, Mittr Phol, Bosch, Thai Asia Pacific Breweries and GSKgsk. Past clients include Lays, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Moccona, Herbal Life, Pepsi and the Pizza Company. ABM will only ever work for one company in certain food and beverage sector industry sector at a time; e.g. if it’s working on a Boots campaign, it won’t work for one

of Boots’ competitors at the same time. ABM started its relationship with Unilever in 2004 with a Sunsilk retainer that continues to this day. Recognizing the value of the work that ABM delivers, Unilever expanded ABM’s mandate to handle ten other brands. ABM supports Unilever’s branding, marketing activations, sampling programs and media engagement through a range of B2C communication retainers and projects using traditional and social media. The company runs very successful social media forms; one example was its recent 6six-month social media campaign for the relaunch of Magnum ice cream. ABM engaged almost 100 key opinion formers and celebrities via social media channels with 1,500+ posts with over 14 million views. Yet another saw an engagement with beauty bloggers for Boots No7 anti-aging serum; ABM arranged for Thailand’s top 42 editors & beauty bloggers to attend an anti-aging workshop; with 89 posts with over 5five million views. Interestingly, Steve says Facebook is still the most powerful social media tool in Thailand. ABM offers eight core services: Brand, B2C & Marketing Communications; Corporate, B2B & CSR Communications; Media Relations &Engagement; Issue & Crisis Communications; Social and Online Media; Communications Training; Change and Internal Communications; and Digital Design.

Summing up, Aziam Burson-Marsteller works with multinational and Thai clients in the financial, consumer, information technology, healthcare, telecommunications, automotive, transportation, government and energy sectors. It offers strategic, integrated communications consulting services including media relations, marketing issues management, publicity and promotional programs, investor relations, employee communications, brand building and market entry. It also handles crisis management communications (as seen through its work with the TAT during the Bangkok floods of 2011), new media design & production, events management, advertising, editorial services, training, policies & procedures, and technical writing and market surveys & research. ABM is a unique Thai PR firm in that the managing director is deeply involved in daily client work. As mentioned, no weekday golfing or extended lunches—he writes content for clients, edits documents, and develops strategic plans. ABM is dynamic, successful and strongly positioned as a premium brand in Thailand’s public relations industry.

Contact Info steve@abm.co.th



Voyageur sept 2015 26 august