In the course of a couple of decades, Thailand was transformed from a prominent agricultural country into a nation with a broad economic base and a rapidly growing manufacturing industry. At the factories, for example, clothing, cars and electronics are manufactured.
The industry is concentrated in Bangkok and its environs, where there are shipping opportunities as well as good access to trained labor and reliable electricity supply.
The industry and construction industry together account for just over a third of the country’s GDP and employ almost every fourth working Thai in the formal economy.
Industrialization in Thailand gained momentum during the 1960s. Then it was mainly the textile industry that accelerated. Textile production is still important, but it has been slowed by the fact that the supply on the world market has swelled and that barriers to trade have been set up mainly by the US and the EU.
The electronics industry has been the country’s most important source of export revenue since 1994. Its development is the result of major investments from Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. Other important industrial sectors are food processing and heavy industry such as oil refining and cement production.
Modernization of the economy has slowly pushed up wages and Thailand is now facing serious competition from more prominent low-wage countries such as China. The crisis in the late 1990s hit hard on industry (see Economic overview). Then 20,000 factories struck again. By the early 2000s, the situation had improved and exports had regained momentum. During the first decade of the 2000s, the electronics industry continued to perform well, while the textile industry declined. As a whole, the industrial sector continued to grow during the 2010s, but at a relatively slow pace.
- COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Thailand. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.
The EU resumes political contacts with Thailand
The EU resumes political contacts “at all levels” with Thailand. It takes place three years after the military coup was carried out in Bangkok and the elected government was deposed. The EU’s justification for the decision is that Thailand partly adopted a new permanent constitution and partly that Prime Minister Prayut has promised that general elections will be held in November 2018. However, the EU urges Thailand to fully restore democracy and respect for human rights and freedoms. The Union stopped all official visits to Thailand and postponed the signing of cooperation agreements with the Bangkok regime in June 2014.
Cremation ceremony for King Bhumibol
A five-day ceremony will commence in connection with the cremation of King Bhumibol who died in October last year. In the streets of Bangkok, tens of thousands of black-clad mourners gather to say goodbye and the event will be broadcast on all the country’s TV channels. The ceremony is lavish, equivalent to over $ 90 billion to have been spent on the event.
Elections will be held in November 2018
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha says that general elections will be held in November 2018. However, the election date has been postponed on several occasions since the 2014 military coup.
Prayut visits Trump in the White House
As the first Thai prime minister since 2005, Prayut Chan-O-Cha visits the White House in Washington, where the US president celebrates the two countries’ long-standing good relations. Traditionally, Thailand has strong ties to the United States, but the 2014 coup led to a strained relationship. The United States has demanded a rapid return to democracy.
Yingluck is sentenced to five years in prison
In the absence of the military, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is sentenced to five years in prison for neglect in his role as head of government in connection with a loss-making government program for subsidies to the country’s rice farmers, an important voting group for Yingluck and her political grouping. Yingluck has repeatedly denied crime and claims to be politically persecuted by his opponents in politics and the military. She left the country some time before the verdict fell and she is believed to be staying in Dubai.
Yingluck is absent from court
Deputy Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra does not show up in the courtroom when the Supreme Court is to declare the judgment in the case of rice subsidies. Yingluck has been charged with wasting the state’s money illegally when her government implemented an expensive and criticized program of subsidies to the country’s rice farmers. Representatives of Yingluck say she has fallen ill, but the military government is ordering enhanced border control of fear that Yingluck will flee the country. The verdict is now set to be announced on September 27. Yingluck could face up to ten years in prison if found guilty.
Yingluck’s assets frozen
Authorities have begun to freeze assets in bank accounts belonging to former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, her defense lawyers said. The reason is the fines to which she was sentenced (see October 2016). The fine of the equivalent of one billion dollars far exceeds the assets of about $ 18 million that Yingluck holds according to public records.
Opposition leaders are imprisoned for slander
Jatuporn Prompan, leader of the Thaksin-friendly Red Shirts movement, is sentenced to one year in prison for speaking in a speech in 2009 to the then Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
Harsh punishments for human traffickers
Dozens of people, including police officers, local politicians and a general, are sentenced to lengthy prison sentences for their roles in a human smuggling network that exploded in May 2015. The disclosure led to smugglers abandoning their victims in refugee camps in southern Thailand where many died of starvation and malaria. Others remained in boats out to sea where they floated around the wind for waves. The smugglers earned large sums of money to transport refugees from Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Bangladesh via southern Thailand to Malaysia. The general was sentenced to 27 years in prison. A Myanmar who organized various camps in the jungles received the longest sentence, 94 years in prison.
The king is given full control over his wealth
A law gives the king direct control over the royal family’s assets. Since the monarch does not need to account for his wealth, it is unknown how large it is, but the estimates vary between $ 30 billion and $ 60 billion.
International media providers must register
Thai authorities decide that Internet-based TV and movie providers, such as Facebook, YouTube and Netflix, must register with the authorities by July 22, 2017. It is unclear what the consequences will be for companies that do not register before the deadline.
Facebook does not remove posts that Thailand required
The deadline for May 16 that Thai authorities have given Facebook to remove 130 posts that the country considers critical of its monarchy is passing without Facebook taking any action. Thailand has threatened legal action if Facebook does not remove the posts. In Thailand it is punishable to criticize the monarchy.
Thailand threatens sue Facebook
Thai authorities give Facebook a deadline of May 16 to remove 130 posts they think are critical of the country’s monarchy. If that does not happen, Thailand threatens legal action. In Thailand it is punishable to criticize the monarchy.
Some 60 are injured in bombing in the south
More than 60 people are injured when an explosive charge detonates at a department store in the town of Pattani in troubled southern Thailand. The material damage to department stores is extensive. No person or group takes on the deed, but the approach and the equipment are similar to previous attacks that the separatist group BRN has behind. The militant separatist groups in the south usually never take on the blame for acts committed in the region (read more about the conflict in the south here).
The king’s influence increases
King Vajiralongkorn gains control of five government agencies that regulate some of the court’s functions as well as the security of the palace. In the past, the government or the military had control over these authorities. The new monarch gathers more influence over himself and the court (see Current policy).
Rebels in the south reject peace plan
The most important rebel group in southern Thailand, BRN, rejects the military’s draft peace plan for the region.
The reform plan will be valid for 20 years
The government presents a 20-year “legally binding” strategic plan to reform the country. The plan lacks concrete content other than fighting corruption and improving the economy. The plan to apply to all governments over the next 20 years probably means that the military is prepared to step in and set aside a government that does not respect the military-backed new constitution.
The government is meeting with the opposition party
Juntan’s promised reconciliation process continues with a meeting of government representatives and representatives of the Thaksin-friendly party in the coup for Thailand. The comments after the meeting were polite and gently positive. At the same time, a lawsuit is underway against For Thailand’s leader, Yingluck Shinawatra, who risks imprisonment for alleged negligence in his office as prime minister.
BBC broadcasts from Thailand are silent
After the British etheric media company BBC and the Thai government failed to agree on what an extension of the company’s broadcasting license should look like, some radio towers are switched off. From the towers north of Bangkok, the BBC has, among other things, sent news in local languages to countries such as China, North Korea, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Reconciliation plan is initiated
The military-backed government is launching on Valentine’s Day the reconciliation process between the country’s two political camps that the junta has previously promised.
Tourism is breaking the record
Thai authorities announce that 32.5 million foreign tourists visited the country in 2016, which is more than any other year. The tourism industry is expected to raise at least $ 78.5 billion to the Treasury in 2017.
Changes in the temporary constitution
At the request of King Vajiralongkorn, the Legislative Assembly votes to make a number of changes to the current, temporary constitution. Among other things, it should be possible for the monarch, who has spent most of his time in Germany in recent years, to be abroad for longer periods without having to put in a replacement at home in Thailand. The work on the constitutional amendments is likely to mean that the general election is postponed until 2018.