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  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January, 2004
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook.

This page was last updated on 10 February, 2005

Map of Thailand

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Thailand
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
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
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 2004 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 24.1% (male 7,985,724; female 7,631,337)
15-64 years: 68.7% (male 21,998,552; female 22,538,765)
65 years and over: 7.3% (male 2,167,421; female 2,543,724) (2004 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 30.5 years
male: 29.7 years
female: 31.2 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.91% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
16.04 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.94 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 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 (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 21.14 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 22.49 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 19.73 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 71.41 years
male: 69.23 years
female: 73.71 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.89 children born/woman (2004 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.)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Thai (singular and plural)
adjective: Thai
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%
Definition Field Listing
Buddhism 95%, Muslim 3.8%, Christianity 0.5%, Hinduism 0.1%, other 0.6% (1991)
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
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 CHATURON Chaisaeng, Gen. CHAWALIT Yongchaiyut (Ret.), PURACHAI Piamsombun, VISHANU Krua-ngam (since 8 November 2003); LIPTAPANLOP Suwat (since 1 July 2004); SOMSAK Thepsuthin, PHINIT Charusombat (since 6 October 2004)
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 January 2001 (next to be held 6 February 2005)
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 248, DP 128, TNP 41, NDP 29, other 54
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) [BANYAT Bantadtan]; 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
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Thailand has a free-enterprise economy and welcomes foreign investment. Exports feature textiles and footwear, fishery products, rice, rubber, jewelry, automobiles, computers and electrical appliances. Thailand has recovered from the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis and was one of East Asia's best performers in 2002. Increased consumption and investment spending and strong export growth pushed GDP growth up to 6.3% in 2003 despite a sluggish global economy. The highly popular government has pushed an expansionist policy, including major support of village economic development.
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $477.5 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.7% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $7,400 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 9.8%
industry: 44%
services: 46.3% (2003)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
25.5% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
10.4% (2002 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
41.4 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.8% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
34.9 million (2003 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 49%, industry 14%, services 37% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.2% (2003 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $24.41 billion
expenditures: $24.01 billion, including capital expenditures of $5 billion (2003 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
46.6% of GDP (2003)
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
12.3% (2003 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
97.6 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
90.91 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
200 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
350 million kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
173,800 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
785,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
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
$9.44 billion (2003)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$75.99 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
computers, office machine parts, transistors, rubber, vehicles (cars and trucks), plastic, seafood (2002)
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 17%, Japan 14.2%, Singapore 7.3%, China 7.1%, Hong Kong 5.4%, Malaysia 4.8% (2003)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$65.3 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
capital goods, intermediate goods and raw materials, consumer goods, fuels (2000)
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Japan 24.1%, US 9.5%, China 8%, Malaysia 6%, Singapore 4.3%, Taiwan 4.2% (2003)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$42.15 billion (2003)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$53.75 billion (2003 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$131.5 million (1998 est.)
Definition Field Listing
baht (THB)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
baht per US dollar - 41.4846 (2003), 42.9601 (2002), 44.4319 (2001), 40.1118 (2000), 37.8137 (1999)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 October - 30 September
   Communications    Thailand
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.6 million (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
16.117 million (2002)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: service to general public adequate, but investment in technological upgrades reduced by recession; 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: country code - 66; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean)
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
6,031,300 (2003)
   Transportation    Thailand
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 4,071 km
narrow gauge: 4,071 km 1.000-m gauge (2003)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 64,600 km
paved: 62,985 km
unpaved: 1,615 km (1999 est.)
Definition Field Listing
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, Pattani, Phuket, Sattahip, Si Racha, Songkhla
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 339 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 2,038,597 GRT/3,104,712 DWT
by type: bulk 40, cargo 135, chemical tanker 5, combination bulk 2, combination ore/oil 1, container 19, liquefied gas 22, multi-functional large load carrier 2, passenger 1, petroleum tanker 79, refrigerated cargo 22, roll on/roll off 2, short-sea/passenger 2, specialized tanker 6, vehicle carrier 1
foreign-owned: Egypt 1, Germany 3, Indonesia 1, Japan 4, Norway 38, Panama 2, Singapore 3
registered in other countries: 43 (2004 est.)
Definition Field Listing
109 (2003 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 (2003 est.)
   Military    Thailand
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Royal Thai Army, Royal Thai Navy (including Royal Thai Marine Corps), Royal Thai Air Force
Military manpower - military age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
21 years of age for compulsory military service; males are registered at 18 years of age; conscript service obligation - 2 years; 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2004)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 17,944,151 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 10,735,354 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 531,511 (2004 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
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
a 1 kilometer segment at the mouth of the Golok River remains in dispute with Malaysia; demarcation with Laos complete except for certain Mekong River islets and complaints of Thai squatters; 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 accuses Thailand of moving boundary markers and obstructing access to Preah Vihear temple ruins awarded to Cambodia by ICJ decision in 1962; 2003 anti-Thai riots in Phnom Penh resulted in the destruction of the Thai Embassy and damage to 17 Thai-owned businesses and disputes over payments of full compensation persist; groups in Burma and Thailand express concern over China's construction of 13 hydroelectric dams on the 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 10 February, 2005

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