Thailand

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  • [Country flag of Thailand]

    Thailand

    [Country map of Thailand]

    Geography

    Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma

    Geographic coordinates: 15 00 N, 100 00 E

    Map references: Southeast Asia

    Area:
    total: 514,000 sq km
    land: 511,770 sq km
    water: 2,230 sq km

    Area - comparative: slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming

    Land boundaries:
    total: 4,863 km
    border countries: Burma 1,800 km, Cambodia 803 km, Laos 1,754 km, Malaysia 506 km

    Coastline: 3,219 km

    Maritime claims:
    continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    territorial sea: 12 nm

    Climate: tropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); southern isthmus always hot and humid

    Terrain: central plain; Khorat Plateau in the east; mountains elsewhere

    Elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m
    highest point: Doi Inthanon 2,576 m

    Natural resources: tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite

    Land use:
    arable land: 34%
    permanent crops : 6%
    permanent pastures: 2%
    forests and woodland: 26%
    other: 32% (1993 est.)

    Irrigated land: 44,000 sq km (1993 est.)

    Natural hazards: land subsidence in Bangkok area resulting from the depletion of the water table; droughts

    Environment - current issues: air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from organic and factory wastes; deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by illegal hunting

    Environment - international agreements:
    party to: Climate Change, Endangered Species, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
    signed, but not ratified: Biodiversity, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea

    Geography - note: controls only land route from Asia to Malaysia and Singapore

    People

    Population: 59,450,818 (July 1997 est.)

    Age structure:
    0-14 years: 25% (male 7,531,192; female 7,257,574)
    15-64 years: 69% (male 20,308,061; female 20,902,406)
    65 years and over: 6% (male 1,530,905; female 1,920,680) (July 1997 est.)

    Population growth rate: 1% (1997 est.)

    Birth rate: 17.03 births/1,000 population (1997 est.)

    Death rate: 7.05 deaths/1,000 population (1997 est.)

    Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1997 est.)

    Sex ratio:
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-64 years : 0.97 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

    Infant mortality rate: 32.1 deaths/1,000 live births (1997 est.)

    Life expectancy at birth:
    total population: 68.8 years
    male: 65.12 years
    female: 72.66 years (1997 est.)

    Total fertility rate: 1.86 children born/woman (1997 est.)

    Nationality:
    noun: Thai (singular and plural)
    adjective: Thai

    Ethnic groups: Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%

    Religions: Buddhism 95%, Muslim 3.8%, Christianity 0.5%, Hinduism 0.1%, other 0.6% (1991)

    Languages: Thai, English the secondary language of the elite, ethnic and regional dialects

    Literacy:
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 93.8%
    male: 96%
    female: 91.6% (1995 est.)

    Government

    Country name:
    conventional long form: Kingdom of Thailand
    conventional short form: Thailand

    Data code: TH

    Government type: constitutional monarchy

    National capital: Bangkok

    Administrative divisions: 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

    Independence: 1238 (traditional founding date; never colonized)

    National holiday: Birthday of His Majesty the King, 5 December (1927)

    Constitution: new constitution approved 7 December 1991; amended 10 June 1992; new constitution currently being drafted with completion expected by the end of 1997

    Legal system: based on civil law system, with influences of common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

    Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

    Executive branch:
    chief of state: King PHUMIPHON Adunyadet (since 9 June 1946); Heir Apparent Crown Prince WACHIRALONGKON (born 28 July 1952)
    head of government: Prime Minister CHAWALIT Yongchaiyut (since 25 November 1996)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers
    note: there is also a Privy Council
    elections : none; the king is a constitutional monarch; prime minister designated from among the members of the House of Representatives; following elections in the House of Representatives, the leader of the party that wins a plurality of seats usually becomes prime minister

    Legislative branch: bicameral National Assembly or Rathasapha consists of the Senate or Wuthisapha (a 270-member appointed body; members serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Sapha Phuthaen Ratsadon (393 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
    elections : House of Representatives - last held 17 November 1996 (next scheduled to be held by 17 November 2000, but may be held earlier as Prime Minister CHAWALIT has promised to hold elections after the draft of the new constitution is complete and that is scheduled for the end of 1997)
    election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NAP 125, DP 123, NDP 52, TNP 39, SAP 20, TCP 18, SP 8, LDP 4, MP 2

    Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Sandika), judges appointed by the king

    Political parties and leaders: Thai Nation Party (TNP or Chat Thai Party), BANHAN Sinlapa-acha; Democratic Party (DP or Prachathipat Party), CHUAN Likphai; New Aspiration Party (NAP or Khwamwang Mai), Gen. CHAWALIT Yongchaiyut; National Development Party (NDP or Chat Phattana), CHATCHAI Chunhawan; Phalang Dharma Party (PDP or Phalang Tham), SUDARAT Keyuraphan; Social Action Party (SAP or Kitsangkhom Party), MONTRI Phongphanit; Thai Citizen's Party (TCP or Prachakon Thai), SAMAK Sunthonwet; Liberal Democratic Party (LDP or Seri Tham), PHINIT Charusombat; Solidarity Party (SP or Ekkaphap Party), UTHAI Phimchaichon; Mass Party (MP or Muanchon), Pol. Cpt. CHALOEM Yubamrung

    International organization participation: APEC, AsDB, ASEAN, CCC, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, Mekong Group, NAM, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador NIT Phibunsongkhram
    chancery: 1024 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
    telephone: [1] (202) 944-3600
    FAX: [1] (202) 944-3611
    consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York

    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    chief of mission : Ambassador William H. ITOH
    embassy: 120/22 Wireless Road, Bangkok
    mailing address: APO AP 96546
    telephone: [66] (2) 205-4000
    FAX : [66] (2) 254-2990
    consulate(s) general: Chiang Mai

    Flag description: five horizontal bands of red (top), white, blue (double width), white, and red

    Economy

    Economy - overview: One of the more advanced developing countries in Asia, Thailand depends on exports of manufactures - including high-technology goods - and the development of the service sector to fuel the country's rapid growth, averaging 9% since 1989. Most of Thailand's recent imports have been for capital equipment and raw materials, although imports of consumer goods are beginning to rise. Thailand's 35% domestic savings rate is a key source of capital for the economy, and the country is also benefiting from rising investment from abroad. Prime Minister CHAWALIT's government - Thailand's seventh government in six years - will continue Bangkok's probusiness policies and reemphasize Bangkok's traditional fiscal austerity. CHAWALIT is beginning to address Thailand's serious infrastructure bottlenecks, especially in the transport and telecommunications sectors. Over the longer term, Bangkok must produce more college graduates with technical training and upgrade workers' skills to continue its rapid economic development.

    GDP: purchasing power parity - $455.7 billion (1996 est.)

    GDP - real growth rate: 6.7% (1996 est.)

    GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $7,700 (1996 est.)

    GDP - composition by sector:
    agriculture: 10.5%
    industry: 30.5%
    services: 59% (1996 est.)

    Inflation rate - consumer price index: 5.9% (1996 est.)

    Labor force:
    total: 34.03 million (1996 est.)
    by occupation: agriculture 57%, industry 17%, commerce 11%, services (including government) 15% (1993 est.)

    Unemployment rate: 2.6% (1996 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues : $28.4 billion
    expenditures: $28.4 billion, including capital expenditures of $6.1 billion (FY94/95)

    Industries: tourism; textiles and garments, agricultural processing, beverages, tobacco, cement, light manufacturing, such as jewelry; electric appliances and components, integrated circuits, furniture, plastics; world's second-largest tungsten producer and third-largest tin producer

    Industrial production growth rate: 13.3% (1995 est.)

    Electricity - capacity: 15.84 million kW (1994)

    Electricity - production: 70.21 billion kWh (1994)

    Electricity - consumption per capita: 1,205 kWh (1995 est.)

    Agriculture - products: rice, cassava (tapioca), rubber, corn, sugarcane, coconuts, soybeans

    Exports:
    total value: $57.3 billion (f.o.b., 1996)
    commodities: manufactures 73%, agricultural products and fisheries 21%, raw materials 5%, fuels 1%
    partners : US 21.0%, Japan 17.1%, Singapore 13.6%, Hong Kong 5.3%, Germany 3.5%, UK 3.0%, Netherlands 2.8%, Malaysia 2.4%

    Imports:
    total value: $72.4 billion (c.i.f., 1996)
    commodities: manufactures 80%, fuels 6.9%, raw materials 6.6%, foodstuffs 4.3%
    partners: Japan 30.4%, US 11.9%, Singapore 6.3%, Germany 5.8%, Taiwan 5.1%, Malaysia 4.9%, South Korea 3.7%, China 2.6%

    Debt - external: $61.6 billion (1995)

    Economic aid:
    recipient: ODA, $624 million (1993)

    Currency: 1 baht (B) = 100 satang

    Exchange rates: baht (B) per US$1 - 25.708 (January 1997), 15.343 (1996), 24.915 (1995), 25.150 (1994), 25.319 (1993), 25.400 (1992)

    Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September

    Communications

    Telephones: 1,553,200 (1994 est.)

    Telephone system: service to general public inadequate; bulk of service to government activities provided by multichannel cable and microwave radio relay network
    domestic: microwave radio relay and multichannel cable; domestic satellite system being developed
    international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean)

    Radio broadcast stations: AM 200 (in government-controlled network), FM 100 (in government-controlled network), shortwave 0

    Radios: 10.75 million (1992 est.)

    Television broadcast stations: 11 (in government-controlled network)

    Televisions: 3.3 million (1993 est.)

    Transportation

    Railways:
    total : 4,623 km
    narrow gauge: 4,623 km 1.000-m gauge (99 km double track)

    Highways:
    total: 56,903 km
    paved: 52,806 km
    unpaved : 4,097 km (1993 est.)

    Waterways: 3,999 km principal waterways; 3,701 km with navigable depths of 0.9 m or more throughout the year; numerous minor waterways navigable by shallow-draft native craft

    Pipelines: petroleum products 67 km; natural gas 350 km

    Ports and harbors: Bangkok, Laem Chabang, Pattani, Phuket, Sattahip, Si Racha, Songkhla

    Merchant marine:
    total : 283 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,859,021 GRT/3,060,277 DWT
    ships by type: bulk 38, cargo 144, chemical tanker 5, combination bulk 1, container 12, liquefied gas tanker 15, multi-function large load carrier 3, oil tanker 49, passenger 1, refrigerated cargo 10, roll-on/roll-off cargo 2, short-sea passenger 1, specialized tanker 2 (1996 est.)

    Airports: 100 (1996 est.)

    Airports - with paved runways:
    total: 86
    over 3,047 m : 6
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
    914 to 1,523 m: 22
    under 914 m: 36 (1996 est.)

    Airports - with unpaved runways:
    total: 14
    1,524 to 2,437 m : 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 13 (1996 est.)

    Heliports: 2 (1996 est.)

    Military

    Military branches: Royal Thai Army, Royal Thai Navy (includes Royal Thai Marine Corps), Royal Thai Air Force, Paramilitary Forces

    Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age

    Military manpower - availability:
    males age 15-49 : 17,076,040 (1997 est.)

    Military manpower - fit for military service:
    males : 10,315,765 (1997 est.)

    Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
    males: 591,094 (1997 est.)

    Military expenditures - dollar figure: $4 billion (FY94/95)

    Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 2.5% (FY94/95)

    Transnational Issues

    Disputes - international: boundary dispute with Laos; unresolved maritime boundary with Vietnam; parts of border with Cambodia in dispute; maritime boundary with Cambodia not clearly defined

    Illicit drugs: a minor producer of opium, heroin, and marijuana; major 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; rapidly growing role in amphetamine production for regional consumption; increasing indigenous abuse of methamphetamines and heroin