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Sun, April 01, 2007



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Thai Politics

 Ralph Boyce is a Fool 
Author: Rodley Tufren
Date:    1 Apr 2550 14:29

Today is Palm Sunday.

But after reading an article in The Nation today, "US envoy tells of investor unease over govt's moves", citing comments by the current American ambassador to Thailand, Ralph Leo Boyce Junior, about trade realtions with Thailand, I recalled that in America today, April 1, is also April Fool's Day.

Last year, Boyce insisted that free trade agreetment talks between the Thai government and American trade representatives, which he chaired, should be kept secret. This upset many Thai businessmen. They were right to protest about Boyce's unfairness.

Boyce later lobbied the Thai government with American alcohol and tobacco companies to reduce restrictions on advertising of alcohol and tobacco in Thailand. This drew criticism of Boyce from the Thai public. People were right to complain about his unethical conduct.

Subsequently, Boyce's predecessor, Darryl Johnson, returned to Thailand to lobby the Thai government with American pharmaceutical companies to stop Thailand from producing urgently needed anti-AIDs medicine on its own, ignoring patent protection laws.

Now, in today's press, Boyce complains about Thailand's desperate move to save more than half a million HIV-positive Thais. He claims that this has reduced investor confidence in Thailand and hurt the Thai government's image. That is nonsense, of course.

But in America, today, April 1 is also April Fool's Day.

Rodley Tufren
Bangkok
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