Brian Davidson, UK Ambassador to Thailand
Thailand’s tourism and export-reliant economy has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with two thirds of the Thai workforce seeing incomes decline and a rapid rise in unemployment. In June, the World Bank estimated that the Thai economy would shrink by at least five per cent this year, and take more than two years to return to pre-pandemic GDP levels.
Amid all of this, Thailand has been in the throes of political instability. Frequent student-led pro-democracy demonstrations, fuelled by long-simmering political grievances, have called for judicial and political reforms, with some of the protests breaking the taboo of discussing the role of the monarchy in politics and society. In August, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha reshuffled his cabinet following resignations by a key group of ministers and technocrats, leaving weeks of political vacuum that deepened concerns about the handling of the economy.
Speaking from Bangkok, Brian Davidson, UK Ambassador to Thailand, will brief Asia House Corporate Members on the political situation and economic outlook for Thailand. With Southeast Asia increasingly becoming an arena for US-China strategic rivalry, the Ambassador will also share his observations on how Thailand is navigating the great power tensions that are playing out in the region.
Brian Davidson has been British Ambassador to Thailand since June 2016. He has extensive experience in Asia, having started his career in Beijing (1988-1992) and most recently served as Consul General in Guangzhou and then Shanghai between 2006-2015. Other overseas posts have included Lithuania and Australia. While in the UK Brian has worked for the Cabinet Office as an analyst on international terrorism and on secondment to International Financial Services London as Deputy Chief Executive.
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