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 Transnational Issues

This page was last updated on 20 October, 2005

Map of Thailand

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Thailand Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
A unified Thai kingdom was established in the mid-14th century. Known as Siam until 1939, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been taken over by a European power. A bloodless revolution in 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy. In alliance with Japan during World War II, Thailand became a US ally following the conflict. Thailand is currently facing armed violence in its three Muslim-majority southernmost provinces.
   Geography    Thailand Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
15 00 N, 100 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Southeast Asia
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 514,000 sq km
land: 511,770 sq km
water: 2,230 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 4,863 km
border countries: Burma 1,800 km, Cambodia 803 km, Laos 1,754 km, Malaysia 506 km
Definition Field Listing
3,219 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Definition Field Listing
tropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); southern isthmus always hot and humid
Definition Field Listing
central plain; Khorat Plateau in the east; mountains elsewhere
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m
highest point: Doi Inthanon 2,576 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite, arable land
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 29.36%
permanent crops: 6.46%
other: 64.18% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
47,490 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
land subsidence in Bangkok area resulting from the depletion of the water table; droughts
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from organic and factory wastes; deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by illegal hunting
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
controls only land route from Asia to Malaysia and Singapore
   People    Thailand Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 23.9% (male 7,988,529/female 7,633,405)
15-64 years: 68.6% (male 22,195,625/female 22,731,767)
65 years and over: 7.5% (male 2,251,112/female 2,643,933) (2005 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 30.88 years
male: 30.11 years
female: 31.66 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.87% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
15.7 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7.02 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 20.48 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 21.83 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 19.06 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 71.95 years
male: 69.65 years
female: 74.37 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.88 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.5% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
570,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
58,000 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
Definition Field Listing
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, Japanese encephalitis, and plague are high risks in some locations
animal contact disease: rabies
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2004)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Thai (singular and plural)
adjective: Thai
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%
Definition Field Listing
Buddhist 94.6%, Muslim 4.6%, Christian 0.7%, other 0.1% (2000 census)
Definition Field Listing
Thai, English (secondary language of the elite), ethnic and regional dialects
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.6%
male: 94.9%
female: 90.5% (2002)
   Government    Thailand Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Kingdom of Thailand
conventional short form: Thailand
former: Siam
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
constitutional monarchy
Definition Field Listing
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
76 provinces (changwat, singular and plural); Amnat Charoen, Ang Thong, Buriram, Chachoengsao, Chai Nat, Chaiyaphum, Chanthaburi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Chon Buri, Chumphon, Kalasin, Kamphaeng Phet, Kanchanaburi, Khon Kaen, Krabi, Krung Thep Mahanakhon (Bangkok), Lampang, Lamphun, Loei, Lop Buri, Mae Hong Son, Maha Sarakham, Mukdahan, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Sawan, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nan, Narathiwat, Nong Bua Lamphu, Nong Khai, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Pattani, Phangnga, Phatthalung, Phayao, Phetchabun, Phetchaburi, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Phrae, Phuket, Prachin Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ranong, Ratchaburi, Rayong, Roi Et, Sa Kaeo, Sakon Nakhon, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Sara Buri, Satun, Sing Buri, Sisaket, Songkhla, Sukhothai, Suphan Buri, Surat Thani, Surin, Tak, Trang, Trat, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Uthai Thani, Uttaradit, Yala, Yasothon
Definition Field Listing
1238 (traditional founding date; never colonized)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Birthday of King PHUMIPHON, 5 December (1927)
Definition Field Listing
new constitution signed by King PHUMIPHON on 11 October 1997
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on civil law system, with influences of common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: King PHUMIPHON Adunyadet (since 9 June 1946)
head of government: Prime Minister THAKSIN Chinnawat (since 9 February 2001) and Deputy Prime Ministers CHITCHAI Wannasathi (since 11 March 2005), PHINIT Charusombat (since 6 October 2004), SOMKHIT Chatusiphithak (since 11 March 2005), SURAKIAT Sathianthai (since 11 March 2005); SURIYA Chungrungruankit (since 3 August 2005), SUWAT Liptapanlop (since 3 August 2005), WISANU Kruangam (since 8 November 2003)
cabinet: Council of Ministers
note: there is also a Privy Council
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister is designated from among the members of the House of Representatives; following national elections for the House of Representatives, the leader of the party that can organize a majority coalition usually is appointed prime minister by the king
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
bicameral National Assembly or Rathasapha consists of the Senate or Wuthisapha (200 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Sapha Phuthaen Ratsadon (500 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 4 March, 29 April, 4 June, 9 July, and 22 July 2000 (next to be held by March 2006); House of Representatives - last held 6 February 2005 (next to be held in February 2009)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - TRT 376, DP 97, TNP 25, PP 2
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court or Sandika (judges appointed by the monarch)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Democrat Party or DP (Prachathipat Party) [ABHISIT Wetchachiwa]; People's Party or PP (Mahachon Party) [ANEK Laothamatas]; Thai Nation Party or TNP (Chat Thai Party) [BARNHARN SILPA-ARCHA]; Thai Rak Thai Party or TRT [THAKSIN Chinnawat]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: KASIT Piromya
chancery: 1024 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 401, Washington, DC 20007-3681
telephone: [1] (202) 944-3600
FAX: [1] (202) 944-3611
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Ralph L. BOYCE
embassy: 120/22 Wireless Road, Bangkok
mailing address: APO AP 96546
telephone: [66] (2) 205-4000
FAX: [66] (2) 254-2990, 205-4131
consulate(s) general: Chiang Mai
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
five horizontal bands of red (top), white, blue (double width), white, and red
   Economy    Thailand Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Thailand has a well developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, and welcomes foreign investment. Thailand has fully recovered from the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis and was one of East Asia's best performers in 2002-04. Increased consumption and investment spending and strong export growth pushed GDP growth up to 6.9% in 2003 and 6.1% in 2004 despite a sluggish global economy. The highly popular government's expansionist policy, including major support of village economic development, has raised concerns about fiscal discipline and the health of financial institutions. Bangkok has pursued preferential trade agreements with a variety of partners in an effort to boost exports and maintain high growth, and in 2004 began negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement with the US. In late December 2004, a major tsunami took 8,500 lives in Thailand and caused massive destruction of property in the southern provinces of Krabi, Phangnga, and Phuket.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$524.8 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.1% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $8,100 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 9%
industry: 44.3%
services: 46.7% (2004 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
36.43 million (November 2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 49%, industry 14%, services 37% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.5% (November 2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
10% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 32.4% (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
51.1 (2002)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.8% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
22.5% of GDP (Jan - Sep 2004 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $30.86 billion
expenditures: $31.94 billion, including capital expenditures of $5 billion (2004 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
47.6% of GDP (November 2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
rice, cassava (tapioca), rubber, corn, sugarcane, coconuts, soybeans
Definition Field Listing
tourism, textiles and garments, agricultural processing, beverages, tobacco, cement, light manufacturing such as jewelry, electric appliances and components, computers and parts, integrated circuits, furniture, plastics, world's second-largest tungsten producer, and third-largest tin producer
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.5% (2004 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
118.9 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
106.1 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
188 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
600 million kWh (2002)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
225,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
785,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
600 million bbl (1 January 2003)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
18.73 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
23.93 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.2 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
368.2 billion cu m (1 January 2003)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$6.736 billion (2004 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$87.91 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
textiles and footwear, fishery products, rice, rubber, jewelry, automobiles, computers and electrical appliances
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 15.9%, Japan 13.9%, China 7.3%, Singapore 7.2%, Malaysia 5.4%, Hong Kong 5.1% (2004)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$80.84 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
capital goods, intermediate goods and raw materials, consumer goods, fuels
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Japan 23.6%, China 8.6%, US 7.6%, Malaysia 5.8%, Singapore 4.4%, Taiwan 4.1% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$48.3 billion (2004)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$50.59 billion (2004 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$72 million (2002)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
baht (THB)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
baht per US dollar - 40.222 (2004), 41.485 (2003), 42.96 (2002), 44.432 (2001), 40.112 (2000)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 October - 30 September
   Communications    Thailand Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6,617,400 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
26.5 million (2005)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: high quality system, especially in urban areas like Bangkok; WTO requirement for privatization of telecom sector is planned to be complete by 2006
domestic: fixed line system provided by both a government owned and commercial provider; wireless service expanding rapidly and outpacing fixed lines
international: country code - 66; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean); landing country for APCN submarine cable
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 204, FM 334, shortwave 6 (1999)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
5 (all in Bangkok; plus 131 repeaters) (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
103,700 (2003)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6,971,500 (2003)
   Transportation    Thailand Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 4,071 km
narrow gauge: 4,071 km 1.000-m gauge (2004)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 57,403 km
paved: 56,542 km
unpaved: 861 km (2000 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4,000 km
note: 3,701 km navigable by boats with drafts up to 0.9 m (2003)
Definition Field Listing
gas 3,112 km; refined products 265 km (2004)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Bangkok, Laem Chabang, Prachuap Port, Si Racha
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 386 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 2,038,597 GRT/3,104,712 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 57, cargo 142, chemical tanker 12, combination ore/oil 1, container 21, liquefied gas 25, passenger 3, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 89, refrigerated cargo 30, roll on/roll off 1, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 55 (Indonesia 1, Japan 3, Norway 45, Singapore 6)
registered in other countries: 35 (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
109 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 65
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 10
1,524 to 2,437 m: 23
914 to 1,523 m: 19
under 914 m: 6 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 44
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 15
under 914 m: 28 (2004 est.)
Definition Field Listing
3 (2004 est.)
   Military    Thailand Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Royal Thai Army, Royal Thai Navy (includes Royal Thai Marine Corps), Royal Thai Air Force
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
21 years of age for compulsory military service; males are registered at 18 years of age; conscript service obliation - 2 years; 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 21-49: 14.984 million (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 21-49: 10,342,337 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 530,493 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.775 billion (FY00)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.8% (2003)
   Transnational Issues    Thailand Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
separatist violence in Thailand's predominantly Muslim southern provinces prompt border closures and controls with Malaysia to stem terrorist activities; southeast Asian states have enhanced border surveillance to check the spread of avian flu; Laos and Thailand pledge to complete demarcation of their boundary in 2005; despite continuing border committee talks, significant differences remain with Burma over boundary alignment and the handling of ethnic rebels, refugees, and illegal cross-border activities; Cambodia and Thailand dispute sections of boundary with missing boundary markers; Cambodia claims Thai encroachments into Cambodian territory and obstructing access to Preah Vihear temple ruins awarded to Cambodia by ICJ decision in 1962; ethnic Karens from Burma flee into Thailand to escape fighting between Karen rebels and Burmese troops resulting in Thailand sheltering about 118,000 Burmese refugees in 2004; Karens also protest Thai support for a Burmese hydroelectric dam construction on the Salween River near the border; environmentalists in Burma and Thailand remain concerned about China's construction of hydroelectric dams upstream on the Nujiang/Salween River in Yunnan Province
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Definition Field Listing
refugees (country of origin): 118,407 (Burma) (2004)
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
a minor producer of opium, heroin, and marijuana; illicit transit point for heroin en route to the international drug market from Burma and Laos; eradication efforts have reduced the area of cannabis cultivation and shifted some production to neighboring countries; opium poppy cultivation has been reduced by eradication efforts; also a drug money-laundering center; minor role in amphetamine production for regional consumption; increasing indigenous abuse of methamphetamine

This page was last updated on 20 October, 2005

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