Pres­i­dent’s fore­word

Norway-Asia Business Review - - Contents -

On 22 May 2014, Thai­land awoke to a new re­al­ity; the mil­i­tary had once again taken power in a mil­i­tary coup, the 12th since 1932. While in­ter­na­tional re­ac­tions con­demned the re­turn of a mil­i­tary gov­ern­ment, the re­ac­tions in Thai­land have been more mixed. Many peo­ple felt the po­lit­i­cal stale­mate re­sult­ing in street vi­o­lence be­tween a po­lit­i­cally di­vided and po­larised pop­u­la­tion had to end. The mil­i­tary claimed it had to step in be­cause the var­i­ous fac­tions were un­able to reach an agree­ment. Since then we have seen a de­ci­sive gov­ern­ment ad­dress a num­ber of pub­lic com­plaints, e.g. graft, cor­rup­tion, mafia in­flu­ence, vested in­ter­ests, vice as well as na­tional leg­isla­tive chal­lenges such as pend­ing laws in a num­ber of fields rang­ing from in­ter­na­tional agree­ments, tax­a­tion, en­ergy and the en­vi­ron­ment. The Thai-Nor­we­gian Cham­ber of Com­merce is an ac­tive mem­ber of the Joint For­eign Cham­bers of Com­merce in Thai­land (JFCCT). Our cham­ber has played an ac­tive role in the or­gan­i­sa­tion for many years and we feel we are be­ing heard. Through JFCCT we have been con­sulted by the Na­tional Coun­cil for Peace and Or­der (NCPO) on a num­ber of is­sues con­cern­ing for­eign in­vest­ments in the coun­try. We have par­tic­u­larly em­pha­sized the need for stream­lin­ing the visa and work-per­mit reg­u­la­tions to make it eas­ier for com­pa­nies and their ex­ec­u­tives to op­er­ate and live in Thai­land. Through in­ter­est or­gan­i­sa­tions like JFCCT and Thai­land’s Board of Trade, of which we are mem­bers, we will con­tinue to en­gage the gov­ern­ment in mat­ters of spe­cial im­por­tance to us as Nor­we­gian in­vestors in Thai­land. It re­mains to be seen how long the mil­i­tary will stay in power. It’s my hope that we soon again will see a demo­cratic Thai­land with checks and bal­ances in­tro­duced into the coun­try’s leg­is­la­tion, mak­ing sure that all sides are heard, lis­tened to and re­spected. From the Nor­we­gian per­spec­tive, we have a new am­bas­sador in Thai­land. Although Kjetil Paulsen is new to Asia, he comes to us with a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence from pre­vi­ous post­ings in Europe, Africa and North Amer­ica in ad­di­tion to post­ings at the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs. We wish him a warm wel­come to Thai­land and are pretty sure that he will en­joy the “Land of Smiles” as much as we do. The pre­vi­ous Nor­we­gian Am­bas­sador to Thai­land, Ms. Katja Nordgaard, de­vel­oped the con­cept of an il­lus­trated cof­fee ta­ble book show­ing images of mod­ern Norway to­gether with pho­tos taken by King Chu­la­longkorn dur­ing his trip to Norway in 1907. The re­sult is the book “Mod­ern Norway, Then and Now”. It is an ideal as an ex­clu­sive gift to Thai part­ners and con­tacts and can be or­dered through the cham­ber of­fice.

Vibeke Lys­sand Leirvåg Pres­i­dent Thai-Nor­we­gian Cham­ber of Com­merce

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