The US and Thailand: How the "Other Special Relationship" May be the Key to Economic Prosperity

in Trading

As the USA continues to weather an economic downturn and those around the world watch as the Peoples' Republic of China becomes an increasingly assertive player in global economics there are those who wonder: What Will America's Role be in Southeast Asia?

It seems increasingly self-evident that Southeast Asia is poised to reassert its role as a regional center in trade, finance, and communication. However, a Southeast Asian market represents an interesting geopolitical triangulation of Chinese and American economic and political interests. While some Americans fear a rising China, the socio-economic possibilities are enormous. This statement is especially true when one considers the economic opportunities which are daily being presented to American businesses in the form of so-called "long tail" consumer demand for products and services in increasingly niche markets. Simply put: the internet has created an increasingly effective and efficient medium for conducting international and inter-jurisdictional trade while the economies of scale which can be achieved in areas such as the service, manufacturing, and industrial sectors are astounding when one considers the incredible untapped resources in Asia. By resources this author not only implies natural resources, but also labor, service, industrial, manufacturing and professional resources as well. The potential for western style service economies in and around the continent of Asia abound. What is even more appealing to many is the fact that such a scenario equates to a mutually beneficial socio-economic relationship between multiple Southeast Asian markets which will likely result in collateral dividends in markets already benefiting the United States' economic interests thereby providing a compounded overall benefit to the American economy.

The United States of America boasts tremendous advantages over virtually ever country in the world in terms of infrastructure, security, and most especially: innovative technologies. Couple this fact with the economic potential of China and the trade potential of a Chinese-Asia/Pacific-USA trading relationship and one is left with only one question: will this happen, and if so what are the benefits? This author's opinion: it already has happened, but business interests in the United States should act with more alacrity in order to position themselves in the most favorable trade and commercial position vis-à-vis the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) community and China. To quote the popular British film Layer Cake: "The art of good business is being a good middle man." Americans could certainly take a page from the British book with regard to trade relations as such a strategy is likely to provide increasingly profitable dividends in a Pan-Asian context.

As was the case of the predecessor agreements preceding the formation of the EU in Europe, the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) adhere to certain agreed upon regulatory frameworks for trade and commercial activity within the member states' combined trading region. This type of legal framework is highly conducive to American service providers accustomed to working within western regulatory frameworks in an international context. Although, some of the jurisdictions in the ASEAN community lack the more subtle nuance of the "common law" legal tradition, this should not be viewed as a negative since many nations have enacted legislation or participate in trade agreements which provide significant benefits to investors and business interests trading within their jurisdiction. Thus, American and international service providers could find substantial advantages in conducting business in many of the jurisdictions in Southeast Asia.

In an American context, Southeast Asia poses a new set of challenges to American business interests, but if these challenges are dealt with properly, they can create incredible opportunities for those firms willing to take strategic risk.

This author frequently refers to the "Other Special Relationship" when speaking about US-Thai relations. The word "special" should not be misinterpreted to imply anything other than a unique bi-lateral state of affairs which engenders a great deal of cross-cultural understanding and trade. The Thai and US socio-economic apparatuses have always found a certain degree of harmony when operating in tandem. These economic synergies have lead to opportunities and revenues which are not always found in other economic relationships. As the United States continues to struggle with economic turbulence, Thailand also must overcome political turbulence in an effort to find a sort of political equilibrium within Thailand and within the context of the ASEAN community. This author fully believes that the United States of America and the Kingdom of Thailand have the capacity to weather the temporary storms of political-economic uncertainty and build a bridge to a multilateral system of trade which will result in benefits for the people of Thailand, the United States, China, and the ASEAN community. This belief stems from close analysis of Thai and US history as both nations have proven capable of adhering to the rule of law in difficult times and making rational political and economic decisions which provide universal benefits in terms of trade and commerce.

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Ben Hart has 13897 articles online and 13 fans

Benjamin Hart is an American attorney and expat residing in Thailand. He currently acts as the Managing Director of Integrity Legal (Thailand) Co. Ltd. and as the International Director of White & Hart Ltd. To contact please call: 1-877-231-7533, +66 (0)2-266-3698, +44 203-002-3837 or email See them on the internet at: US Company Registration or Thailand Business Registration .

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The US and Thailand: How the "Other Special Relationship" May be the Key to Economic Prosperity

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    SimmonsRoseann33- 2011/03/02 00:31:42 am

    freelance writer

This article was published on 2010/09/26