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Thailand / Ratcha Anachak Thai

ราชอาณาจักรไทย

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Background:
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 treaty ally following the conflict. A military coup in September 2006 ousted then Prime Minister THAKSIN Chinnawat. The interim government held elections in December 2007 that saw the former pro-THAKSIN People's Power Party (PPP) emerge at the head of a coalition government. The anti-THAKSIN People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) in May 2008 began street demonstrations against the new government, eventually occupying the prime minister's office in August and Bangkok's two international airports in November. The PAD ended their protests in early December 2008 following a court ruling that dissolved the ruling PPP and two other coalition parties for election violations. The Democrat Party then formed a new coalition government and ABHISIT Wetchachiwa became prime minister. In October 2008 THAKSIN went into voluntary exile to avoid imprisonment for a corruption conviction, and has since agitated his followers from abroad. THAKSIN supporters re-organized into the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) and rioted in April 2009, shutting down an ASEAN meeting in Phuket, and in early 2010 protested a court verdict confiscating most of THAKSIN's wealth. Since January 2004, thousands have been killed as separatists in Thailand's southern ethnic Malay-Muslim provinces increased the violence associated with their cause.



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: 513,120 sq km
country comparison to the world: 50
land: 510,890 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:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Climate:
Current Weather
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, arable land

Land use:
arable land: 27.54%
permanent crops: 6.93%
other: 65.53% (2005)

Irrigated land:
49,860 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:
409.9 cu km (1999)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 82.75 cu km/yr (2%/2%/95%)
per capita: 1,288 cu m/yr (2000)

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: 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:
controls only land route from Asia to Malaysia and Singapore



Population:
66,404,688
country comparison to the world: 20
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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2010 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 20.3% (male 6,913,501/female 6,595,401)
15-64 years: 70.7% (male 23,213,800/female 23,724,246)
65 years and over: 9% (male 2,693,129/female 3,264,611) (2010 est.)

Median age:
total: 33.7 years
male: 32.9 years
female: 34.7 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:
0.601% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148

Birth rate:
13.21 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155

Death rate:
7.2 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128

Net migration rate:
NA

Urbanization:
urban population: 33% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.7% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.054 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 16.91 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 113
male: 17.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 15.86 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.36 years
country comparison to the world: 113
male: 71.02 years
female: 75.82 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.65 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 176

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
1.4% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 46

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
610,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
30,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria
animal contact disease: rabies
water contact disease: leptospirosis
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)

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

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

Religions:
Buddhist 94.6%, Muslim 4.6%, Christian 0.7%, other 0.1% (2000 census)

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

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.6%
male: 94.9%
female: 90.5% (2000 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 14 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2006)

Education expenditures:
4.2% of GDP (2005)
country comparison to the world: 99



Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Thailand
conventional short form: Thailand
local long form: Ratcha Anachak Thai
local short form: Prathet Thai
former: Siam

Government type:
constitutional monarchy

Capital:
name: Bangkok
geographic coordinates: 13 45 N, 100 31 E
time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

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 King PHUMIPHON (BHUMIBOL), 5 December (1927)

Constitution:
24 August 2007

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

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:
chief of state: King PHUMIPHON Adunyadet, also spelled BHUMIBOL Adulyadej (since 9 June 1946)
head of government: Prime Minister ABHISIT Wetchachiwa, also spelled ABHISIT Vejjajiva (since 17 December 2008); Deputy Prime Minister SANAN Kachornprasat, also spelled SANAN Kachornparsart (since 7 February 2008); Deputy Prime Minister SUTHEP Thueaksuban, also spelled SUTHEP Thaugsuban (since 22 December 2008); Deputy Prime Minister TRAIRONG Suwannakhiri (since 18 January 2010)
cabinet: Council of Ministers
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
note: there is also a Privy Council advising the king
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; according to 2007 constitution, the prime minister elected from among members of House of Representatives; following national elections for House of Representatives, the leader of the party positioned to organize a majority coalition usually becomes prime minister by appointment by the king; the prime minister limited to two four-year terms

Legislative branch:
bicameral National Assembly or Rathasapha consisted of the Senate or Wuthisapha (150 seats; 76 members elected by popular vote representing 76 provinces, 74 appointed by judges and independent government bodies; members serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Sapha Phuthaen Ratsadon (480 seats; 400 members elected from 157 multi-seat constituencies and 80 elected on proportional party-list basis of 10 per eight zones or groupings of provinces; members serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 2 March 2008 (next to be held in March 2014); House of Representatives - last election held on 23 December 2007 (next to be held by December 2011)
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 - PPP 233, DP 164, TNP 34, Motherland 24, Middle Way 11, Unity 9, Royalist People's 5; following the PPP's dissolution in December 2008, most of the party's seats were assumed by its successor, the Phuea Thai Party
note: 74 senators were appointed on 19 February 2008 by a seven-member committee headed by the chief of the Constitutional Court; 76 senators were elected on 2 March 2008; elections to the Senate are non-partisan; registered political party members are disqualified from being senators

Judicial branch:
Constitutional Court, Supreme Court of Justice, and Supreme Administrative Court; all judges are appointed by the king; the king's appointments to the Constitutional Courtare made upon the advice of the Senate; the nine Constitutional Court judges are drawn from the Supreme Court of Justice and Supreme Administrative Court as well as from among substantive experts in law and social sciences outside the judiciary

Political parties and leaders:
Chat Thai Phattana Party or CP (Thai Nation Development Party) [CHUMPON Silpa-archa]; Democrat Party or DP (Prachathipat Party) [ABHISIT Wetchachiwa, also spelled ABHISIT Vejjajiva]; Motherland Party (Phuea Phaendin Party) [CHANCHAI Chairungrueng]; Phuea Thai Party (For Thais Party) or PTP [CHAWALIT Yongchaiyut]; Phumchai (Bhumjai) Thai Party or PCT (Thai Pride) [CHAWARAT Chanvirakun]; Royalist People's Party (Pracharaj) [SANOH Thienthong]; Ruam Jai Thai Party (Thai Unity Party) [WANNARAT Channukun]

Political pressure groups and leaders:
People's Alliance for Democracy or PAD; United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship or UDD

International organization participation:
ADB, APEC, APT, ARF, ASEAN, BIMSTEC, BIS, CICA, CP, EAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC (observer), OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE (partner), PCA, PIF (partner), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador DON Pramudwinai
chancery: 1024 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 401, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 944-3600
FAX: [1] (202) 944-3611
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Eric G. JOHN
embassy: 120-122 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330
mailing address: APO AP 96546
telephone: [66] (2) 205-4000
FAX: [66] (2) 254-2990, 205-4131
consulate(s) general: Chiang Mai

Flag description:
five horizontal bands of red (top), white, blue (double width), white, and red; the red color symbolizes the nation and the blood of life; white represents religion and the purity of Buddhism; blue stands for the monarchy
note: similar to the flag of Costa Rica but with the blue and red colors reversed



Economy - overview:
With a well-developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, generally pro-investment policies, and strong export industries, Thailand enjoyed solid growth from 2000 to 2008 - averaging more than 4% per year - as it recovered from the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. Thai exports - mostly machinery and electronic components, agricultural commodities, and jewelry - continue to drive the economy, accounting for more than half of GDP. The global financial crisis of 2008-09 severely cut Thailand's exports, with most sectors experiencing double-digit drops. In 2009, the economy contracted 2.8%. The Thai government is focusing on financing domestic infrastructure projects and stimulus programs to revive the economy, as external trade is still recovering and persistent internal political tension and investment disputes threaten to damage the investment climate.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$538.6 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
$554.1 billion (2008 est.)
$540.6 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$269.6 billion (2009 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
-2.8% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 160
2.5% (2008 est.)
4.9% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$8,100 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
$8,400 (2008 est.)
$8,300 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 11.6%
industry: 43.3%
services: 45.1% (2009 est.)

Labor force:
38.43 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 42.4%
industry: 19.7%
services: 37.9% (2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
1.5% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
1.4% (2008 est.)

Population below poverty line:
9.6% (2006 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.6%
highest 10%: 33.7% (2006)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
43 (2006)
country comparison to the world: 50
42 (2002)

Investment (gross fixed):
24.4% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51

Budget:
revenues: $40.9 billion
expenditures: $51.5 billion (FY10 est.)

Public debt:
45.9% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
38% of GDP (2008 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
-0.9% (2009)
country comparison to the world: 7
5.4% (2008 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
1.75% (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 128
3.25% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
6.05% (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 127
7.04% (31 December 2008)

Stock of money:
$35.35 billion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 31
$28.76 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of quasi money:
$283.6 billion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 16
$237.5 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of domestic credit:
$301 billion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 27
$274.1 billion (31 December 2008)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$142.2 billion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 35
$102.6 billion (31 December 2008)
$196 billion (31 December 2007)

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

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

Industrial production growth rate:
-4.3% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 107

Electricity - production:
148.2 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24

Electricity - consumption:
134.4 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24

Electricity - exports:
846 million kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - imports:
2.313 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - production:
340,900 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 35

Oil - consumption:
923,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 20

Oil - exports:
269,100 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43

Oil - imports:
1.695 million bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13

Oil - proved reserves:
441 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48

Natural gas - production:
28.76 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27

Natural gas - consumption:
37.31 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111

Natural gas - imports:
8.55 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24

Natural gas - proved reserves:
317.1 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40

Current account balance:
$18.01 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
-$113 million (2008 est.)

Exports:
$154.2 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
$175.3 billion (2008 est.)

Exports - commodities:
textiles and footwear, fishery products, rice, rubber, jewelry, automobiles, computers and electrical appliances

Exports - partners:
US 10.94%, China 10.58%, Japan 10.32%, Hong Kong 6.22%, Australia 5.62%, Malaysia 5.03%, Singapore 4.97% (2009)

Imports:
$119 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
$157.3 billion (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities:
capital goods, intermediate goods and raw materials, consumer goods, fuels

Imports - partners:
Japan 18.7%, China 12.73%, Malaysia 6.41%, US 6.31%, UAE 4.98%, Singapore 4.27%, South Korea 4.05% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$138.4 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
$111 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$66.3 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42
$65.09 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$93.84 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
$88.52 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$10.52 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49
$7.013 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

Exchange rates:
baht per US dollar - 34.318 (2009), 33.37 (2008), 34.52 (2007), 37.882 (2006), 40.22 (2005)



Telephones - main lines in use:
7.024 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 26

Telephones - mobile cellular:
62 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 17

Telephone system:
general assessment: high quality system, especially in urban areas like Bangkok
domestic: fixed line system provided by both a government owned and commercial provider; wireless service expanding rapidly and outpacing fixed lines
international: country code - 66; connected to major submarine cable systems providing links throughout Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe, and US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean, 1 Pacific Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 238, FM 351, shortwave 6 (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
111 (2006)

Internet country code:
.th

Internet hosts:
1.231 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 37

Internet users:
16.1 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 23



Airports:
105 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 56

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 64
over 3,047 m: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 11
1,524 to 2,437 m: 24
914 to 1,523 m: 15
under 914 m: 6 (2009)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 41
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 27 (2009)

Heliports:
4 (2009)

Pipelines:
gas 1,348 km; refined products 323 km (2009)

Railways:
total: 4,071 km
country comparison to the world: 41
standard gauge: 29 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 4,042 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)

Roadways:
total: 180,053 km (includes 450 km of expressways) (2006)
country comparison to the world: 28

Waterways:
4,000 km
country comparison to the world: 27
note: 3,701 km navigable by boats with drafts up to 0.9 m (2008)

Merchant marine:
total: 398
country comparison to the world: 25
by type: bulk carrier 53, cargo 135, chemical tanker 15, container 22, liquefied gas 28, passenger/cargo 10, petroleum tanker 100, refrigerated cargo 32, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 1
foreign-owned: 16 (China 1, Japan 4, Malaysia 3, Singapore 2, Taiwan 1, UK 5)
registered in other countries: 40 (Bahamas 5, Mongolia 1, Panama 10, Singapore 23, Tuvalu 1) (2008)

Ports and terminals:
Bangkok, Laem Chabang, Prachuap Port, Si Racha



Military branches:
Royal Thai Army (Kongthap Bok Thai, RTA), Royal Thai Navy (Kongthap Ruea Thai, RTN, includes Royal Thai Marine Corps), Royal Thai Air Force (Kongthap Agard Thai, RTAF) (2010)

Military service age and obligation:
21 years of age for compulsory military service; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; males are registered at 18 years of age; 2-year conscript service obligation (2007)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 17,650,648
females age 16-49: 17,762,077 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 13,247,646
females age 16-49: 14,166,227 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 535,884
female: 511,444 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:
1.8% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84



Disputes - international:
separatist violence in Thailand's predominantly Muslim southern provinces prompt border closures and controls with Malaysia to stem terrorist activities; Southeast Asian states have enhanced border surveillance to check the spread of avian flu; talks continue on completion of demarcation with Laos but disputes remain over several islands in the Mekong River; despite continuing border committee talks, Thailand must deal with Karen and other ethnic rebels, refugees, and illegal cross-border activities, and as of 2006, over 116,000 Karen, Hmong, and other refugees and asylum seekers from Burma; Cambodia and Thailand dispute sections of historic boundary with missing boundary markers; Cambodia claims Thai encroachments into Cambodian territory and obstructing access to Preah Vihear temple ruins awarded to Cambodia by ICJ decision in 1962; Thailand is studying the feasibility of jointly constructing the Hatgyi Dam on the Salween river near the border with Burma; in 2004, international environmentalist pressure prompted China to halt construction of 13 dams on the Salween River that flows through China, Burma, and Thailand

Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 132,241 (Burma) (2007)

Illicit drugs:
a minor producer of opium, heroin, and marijuana; transit point for illicit 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 methamphetamine production for regional consumption; major consumer of methamphetamine since the 1990s despite a series of government crackdowns


 

Information from the CIA's "The World Fact Book" 2010

 

 

 

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