GEOGRAPHY
    The kingdom of Thailand lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, making it a natural gateway to Indochina, Myanmar and Southern China. Its shape and geography divide into four natural regions : the mountains and forests of the North; the vast rice fields of the Central Plains; the semi-arid farm lands of the Northeast plateau; and the tropical islands and long coastline of the peninsula South.

   The country comprises 76 provinces that are further divided into districts, sub-districts and villages. Bangkok is the capital city and centre of political, commercial, industrial and cultural activities. It is also the seat of Thailand's revered Royal Family, with His Majesty the King recognized as Head of State, Head of the Armed Forces, Upholder of the Buddhist religion and Upholder of all religions.
Population
   The population of Thailand reached 64.86 million in 2004, of which approximately 25 percent are under the age of 15. With a growth rate of 1.2 to 1.4 percent
per year the population is projected to exceed 70 million by 2010.

Age Structure:
0-14 years: 22% (male 7,284,068/female 6,958,632)
15-64 years: 70% (male 22,331,312/female 22,880,588)
65 years and over: 8% (male 2,355,190/female 2,821,805) (2006 est.)

Capital: Bangkok
Main urban areas: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima
Ethnic groups: Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%
Languages spoken: Thai, ethnic and regional dialects
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
Labor
   Thailand's labor force was estimated at 36.9 million in 2007. About 49% were employed in agriculture, 37% in services, and 14% in industry. In 2005 women constituted 48 percent of the labor force and held an increasing share of professional jobs. Less than 4% of the workforce is unionized, but 11% of industrial workers and 50% of state enterprise employees are unionized.

   Although laws applying to private-sector workers' rights to form and join trade unions were unaffected by the September 19, 2006, military coup and its aftermath, workers who participate in union activities continue to have inadequate legal protection. According to the U.S. Department of State, union workers are inadequately protected. Thailand's unemployment rate lies at 1.5% percent of the labor force

Thailand Advantage
Gateway to Asia
   Thailand enjoys a strategic location and serves as a gateway into the heart of Asia – home to what is today the largest growing economic market.
   The country also offers convenient trade with China, India and the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and easy access into the Greater Mekong sub-region, where newly emerging markets offer great business potential.


Hub of ASEAN
   Thailand was one of the founding members of ASEAN and has been instrumental in the formation and development of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA).
   AFTA entered into force on 1 January 2010 for the six original ASEAN (ASEAN-6) members (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Brunei), thereby reducing import duties to zero; the so-called CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) will follow suit in 2015.
   Thailand has forged close economic cooperation with other ASEAN member nations, and Thai manufactured products and services have access to their markets, which includes all 10 ASEAN countries. ASEAN is home to more than half a billion people, GDP in excess of US$1.5 trillion and total trade of well more than US$1 trillion per year.