Background Notes: Thailand, October 1998
Released by the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
U.S. Department of State

OFFICIAL NAME: Kingdom of Thailand

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 513,115 sq. km. (198,114 sq. mi.); about the size of Texas.
Cities (1996): Capital--Bangkok (pop. 9 million est.).  Other 
cities--Chiang Mai (83,000), Hat Yai (135,000), Nakon Ratchasima 
(245,000).
Terrain: Densely populated central plain; northeastern plateau; 
mountain range in the west; southern isthmus joins the land mass 
with Malaysia.
Climate: Tropical monsoon.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Thai(s).
Population (1996): 61 million. 
Annual growth rate: 1.1%.
Ethnic groups: Thai 89%, other 11%.
Religions: Buddhist 95%, Muslim 4%, Christian, Hindu, other.
Languages: Thai (official language); English is the second 
language of the elite; regional dialects.
Education: Years compulsory--9.  Literacy--93%.
Health (1996): Infant mortality rate--6/1,000.  Life expectancy--
67.3 yrs. male, 71 yrs. female. 

Government

Type: Constitutional monarchy.
Constitution: New constitution promulgated October 11, 1997.
Independence: Never colonized; traditional founding date 1238.
Branches: Executive--king (chief of state), prime minister (head 
of government).  Legislative--National Assembly (bicameral).  
Judicial--three levels of courts; highest is Supreme Court 
(Sarndika).
Administrative subdivisions: 76 provinces, including Bangkok 
municipality, subdivided into 794 districts.
Political parties: Multi-party system; Communist Party is 
prohibited.
Suffrage: Universal at 18.

Economy

GDP (1997): $153.9 billion; (1998, projected): $140 billion.
Annual growth rate (1997): 0.4%; (1998, projected): -7%.
Per capita income (1997): $2,062.
Natural resources: Tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, 
timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite.
Agriculture (11% of GDP): Products--rice, tapioca, rubber, corn, 
sugarcane, coconuts, soybeans.
Industries: Tourism, textiles, garments, agricultural processing, 
cement, integrated circuits, jewelry.
Trade (1995): Exports--$56 billion: textiles and footwear, 
fishery products, computers and parts, jewelry, rice, tapioca 
products, integrated circuits, rubber.  Major markets--U.S., 
Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, EU.  Imports--$70.8 billion: 
machinery and parts, petroleum, iron and steel, chemicals, 
vehicles and parts, jewelry, fish preparations, electrical 
appliances, fertilizers and pesticides.  Major suppliers--Japan, 
U.S., Singapore, Taiwan, Germany, South Korea, EU. 

PEOPLE

Thailand's population is relatively homogeneous.  More than 85% 
speak a dialect of Thai and share a common culture.  This core 
population includes the central Thai (36% of the population), 
Thai-Lao (32%), northern Thai (8%), and southern Thai (8%).

The language of the central Thai population is the language 
taught in schools and used in government.  Several other small 
Thai-speaking groups include the Shan, Lue, and Phutai.

The largest minorities are the Chinese (about 12% of the 
population) and the Malay-speaking Muslims of the south (3%).  
Other groups include the Khmer, the Mon (who are substantially 
assimilated with the Thai), and the Vietnamese.  Smaller, 
predominantly mountain-dwelling tribes, such as the Hmong, Karen, 
and Mein, number about 500,000.

The population is mostly rural, concentrated in the rice-growing 
areas of the central, northeastern, and northern regions.  
However, as Thailand continues to industrialize, its urban 
population (18% of total population, principally in the Bangkok 
area), is growing.

Thailand's highly successful government-sponsored family planning 
program has resulted in a dramatic decline in population growth 
from 3.1% in 1960 to around 1.1% today.  Life expectancy has also 
risen--a positive reflection of Thailand's efforts at public 
health education.  However, the AIDS epidemic has had a major 
impact on the Thai population.  Thai Government officials 
estimate that Thailand has between 200,000 and 400,000 HIV 
carriers.  Chiang Rai Province in the north may have an infection 
rate as high as 15%.  In recent years, the Thai Government has 
devoted substantial resources toward AIDS education and 
awareness.

Universal, free public education is compulsory for a period of 
nine years.  Education accounts for 16% of total government 
expenditures.  Current figures indicate that 93% of the adult 
population is literate.

Theravada Buddhism is the official religion of Thailand and is 
the religion of more than 90% of its people.  The government 
permits religious diversity, and other major religions are 
represented.  Spirit worship and animism are widely practiced.

HISTORY

Southeast Asia has been inhabited for more than half a million 
years.  Recent archaeological studies suggest that by 4000 B.C., 
communities in what is now Thailand had emerged as centers of 
early bronze metallurgy.  This development, along with the 
cultivation of wet rice, provided the impetus for social and 
political organization.  Research suggests that these innovations 
may actually have been transmitted from there to the rest of 
Asia, including to China.

The Thai are related linguistically to groups originating in 
southern China.  Migrations from southern China to Southeast Asia 
may have occurred in the 6th and 7th centuries.  Malay, Mon, and 
Khmer civilizations flourished in the region prior to the arrival 
of the ethnic Thai.

Thais date the founding of their nation to the 13th century.  
According to tradition, in 1238, Thai chieftains overthrew their 
Khmer overlords at Sukhothai and established a Thai kingdom.  
After its decline, a new Thai kingdom emerged in 1350 on the Chao 
Praya River.

The first ruler of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, King Rama Thibodi, 
made two important contributions to Thai history: the 
establishment and promotion of Theravada Buddhism as the official 
religion (to differentiate his kingdom from the neighboring Hindu 
kingdom of Angkor), and the compilation of the Dharmashastra, a 
legal code based on Hindu sources and traditional Thai custom.  
The Dharmashastra remained a tool of Thai law until late in the 
19th century.  Beginning with the Portuguese in the 16th century, 
Ayutthaya had some contact with the West, but until the 1800s, 
its relations with neighboring nations, as well as with India and 
China, were of primary importance.

After more than 400 years of power, in 1767, the Kingdom of 
Ayutthaya was brought down by invading Burmese armies, and its 
capital burned.  After a single-reign capital established at 
Thonburi by Taksin, a new capital city was founded in 1782, 
across the Chao Phraya at the site of present-day Bangkok, by the 
founder of the Chakri dynasty.  The first Chakri king was crowned 
Rama I.  Rama's heirs became increasingly concerned with the 
threat of European colonialism after British victories in 
neighboring Burma in 1826.

The first Thai recognition of Western power in the region was the 
Treaty of Amity and Commerce with the United Kingdom in 1826.  In 
1833, the United States began diplomatic exchanges with Siam (as 
Thailand was called until 1938).  However, it was during the 
later reigns of Rama IV (or King Mongkut (1851-1868)), and his 
son Rama V (King Chulalongkorn (1868-1910)), that Thailand 
established firm rapprochement with Western powers.  The Thais 
believe that the diplomatic skills of these monarchs, combined 
with the modernizing reforms of the Thai Government, made Siam 
the only country in South and Southeast Asia to avoid European 
colonization.

In 1932, a bloodless coup transformed the Government of Thailand 
from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy.  King Prajadhipok 
(Rama VII) initially accepted this change but later surrendered 
the kingship to his 10-year old nephew.  Upon his abdication, 
King Prajadhipok said that the obligation of a ruler was to reign 
for the good of the whole people, not for a select few.  Although 
nominally a constitutional monarchy, Thailand was ruled by a 
series of military governments interspersed with brief periods of 
democracy from that time until the 1992 elections.  Since the 
1992 elections, Thailand has been a functioning democracy with 
constitutional changes of government.

As with the rest of Southeast Asia, Thailand was occupied by the 
Japanese during the Second World War.  Since Japan's defeat in 
1945, Thailand has had very close relations with the United 
States.  Threatened by communist revolutions in neighboring 
countries such as Burma, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, Thailand 
actively sought to contain communist expansion in the region.  
Recently, Thailand also has been an active member in the regional 
Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The king has little direct power under the constitution but is a 
symbol of national identity and unity.  The present monarch--who 
has been on the throne for 52 years--commands enormous popular 
respect and moral authority, which he has used on occasion to 
resolve political crises that have threatened national stability.

Thailand's legal system blends principles of traditional Thai and 
Western laws; Koranic law is applied in the far south, where 
Muslims constitute the majority of the population.  The Supreme 
Court is the highest court of appeals, and its judges are 
appointed by the king.

Thailand's 76 provinces include the metropolis of greater 
Bangkok.  Bangkok's governor is popularly elected, but those of 
the remaining provinces are career civil servants appointed by 
the ministry of interior.  

Following the 1932 revolution which imposed constitutional limits 
on the monarchy, Thai politics were dominated for half a century 
by a military and bureaucratic elite.  Changes of government were 
effected primarily by means of a long series of mostly bloodless 
coups.

Beginning with a brief experiment in democracy during the mid-
1970s, civilian democratic political institutions slowly gained 
greater authority, culminating in 1988 when Chatichai Choonavan--
leader of the Thai Nation Party--assumed office as the country's 
first democratically elected prime minister in more than a 
decade.  Three years later, yet another bloodless coup ended his 
term.

Shortly afterward, the military appointed Anand Panyarachun, a 
businessman and former diplomat, to head a largely civilian 
interim government and promised to hold elections in the near 
future.  However, following inconclusive elections, former army 
commander Suchinda Kraprayoon was appointed prime minister.

Thais reacted to the appointment by demanding an end to military 
influence in government.  Demonstrations were violently 
suppressed by the military; in May 1992, soldiers killed at least 
50 protesters.

Domestic and international reaction to the violence forced 
Suchinda to resign, and the nation once again turned to Anand 
Panyarachun, who was named interim prime minister until new 
elections in September 1992.  In those elections, the political 
parties that had opposed the military in May 1992 won by a narrow 
majority, and Chuan Leekpai, a leader of the Democratic Party, 
became Prime Minister.  Chuan dissolved Parliament in May 1995, 
and the Thai Nation Party won the largest number of parliamentary 
seats in subsequent elections.  Party leader Banharn Silpa-archa, 
became Prime Minister, but held the office only little more than 
a year.  Following elections held in November 1996, Chavalit 
Youngchaiyudh formed a coalition government and became Prime 
Minister.

The onset of the Asian financial crisis caused a loss of 
confidence in the Chavalit government and forced him to hand over 
power to Chuan Leekpai in November 1997.  Chuan formed a 
coalition government based on the themes of prudent economic 
management and reform of the political system.  So far, Chuan has 
been able to adhere to the IMF prescriptions and push through 
constitutional reforms, but his coalition remains vulnerable 
during the prolongation of the current economic contraction.

Principal Government Officials

Chief of State--Bhumibol Adulyadej
Prime Minister--Chuan Leekpai
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Surin Pitsuwan
Ambassador to the U.S.--Nitya Pibulsonggram
Ambassador to the UN--Asda Jayanama

Thailand maintains an embassy in the United States at 1024 
Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington DC 20007 (tel. 202-944-3600).  
Consulates are located in New York City, Chicago, and Los 
Angeles.

ECONOMY

The ongoing region-wide Asian financial crisis, which began for 
Thailand with the floating of the baht in July 1997, has created 
uncertainty and difficulties for Thailand's economy.  After years 
of impressive economic growth--averaging 9.4% for the decade up 
to 1996--the Thai economy may contract by 7% to 9% during 1998, 
and recovery next year will be anemic at best.  Prospects for 
recovery depend, in part, on recovery of the Japanese economy and 
a strong export demand for Thai manufactured goods.  The Thai 
have focussed on restructuring their financial sector and 
stimulating domestic demand.  Continued liquidity problems plague 
the real sector, and the Thai government aimed for a budget 
deficit of 3% of GDP through increased spending on economic 
stimulus projects.  The Thai government expects improved macro-
economic fundamentals to translate into renewed growth and a 
modest rise in the GDP in 1999.

Before the financial crisis, manufacturing led the growth of the 
Thai economy.  Relatively abundant and inexpensive labor and 
natural resources, fiscal conservatism, open foreign investment 
policies, and encouragement of the private sector underlay the 
economic success in the years up to 1997.  The economy is 
essentially a free-enterprise system.  Certain services, such as 
power generation, transportation, and communications, are state-
owned and operated, but the government is considering privatizing 
them in the wake of the financial crisis.

The Royal Thai Government welcomes foreign investment, and 
investors who are willing to meet certain requirements regarding 
local content or ownership can apply for special investment 
privileges through the Board of Investment.  To attract 
additional foreign investment, the RTG has proposed changes in 
the investment law.

The organized labor movement remains weak and divided in 
Thailand; only 3% of the work force is unionized.  In 1991, the 
State Enterprise Labor Relations Act (SELRA) prohibited state 
industry laborers from forming unions or engaging in acts of 
"confederation." The Chuan Administration has sought to allay 
ensuing international criticism of this policy by spearheading an 
amendment process to the SELRA.  As of this writing, SELRA 
legislation allowing public sector unions passed the Parliament 
but remains vulnerable to a constitutional challenge.

More than 60% of Thailand's labor force is employed in 
agriculture.  Until the onset of the economic crisis in 1997, the 
manufacturing sector was outstripping agriculture in relative 
importance.  But throughout 1997 and 1998 agriculture has been 
the only high-performing sector in the economy.  Rice is the 
country's most important crop--Thailand is a major exporter in 
the world rice market.  Other agricultural commodities produced 
in significant amounts include fish and fishery products, 
tapioca, rubber, corn, and sugar.  Exports of processed foods 
such as canned tuna, pineapples, and frozen shrimp have risen 
dramatically.

Thailand's increasingly diversified manufacturing sector made the 
largest contribution during the nation's economic boom.  
Industries registering rapid increases in production included 
computers and electronics, garments and footwear, furniture, wood 
products, canned food, toys, plastic products, gems, and jewelry.  
These industries are expected to be the leading Thai exports once 
economic recovery is under way.

The United States is Thailand's largest export market and second-
largest supplier after Japan.  While Thailand's traditional major 
markets have been North America, Japan, and Europe, the recent 
creation of an ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) has enabled Thailand 
to expand trade with its neighbors; however, while volumes have 
increased, the dollar value of this trade has actually fallen 
during 1997-1998.  Recovery from the financial crisis depends 
heavily on increased exports to the rest of Asia and the U.S.

Machinery and parts, electronic integrated circuits, chemicals, 
crude oil and fuels, and iron and steel are among Thailand's 
principal imports.  As much of this import volume fed the 
manufacturing and export cycle, import levels have decreased 
dramatically during 1997-1998, as liquidity has dried up almost 
completely.

Thailand is a member of the General Agreement on Tariffs and 
Trade (GATT), and the Cairns Group of agricultural exporters.

Tourism is Thailand's single-largest foreign exchange earner, 
producing about $5.6 billion in 1993.
 
Bangkok and its environs are the most prosperous part of 
Thailand, and the infertile northeast is the poorest.  An 
overriding concern of successive Thai Governments, and a 
particularly strong focus of the current government, has been to 
reduce these regional income differentials, which have been 
exacerbated by rapid economic growth in and around Bangkok and 
the financial crisis.  The government tried to stimulate 
provincial economic growth with programs such as the Eastern 
Seaboard project and developing an alternate deep-sea port on 
Thailand's southern peninsula.  It is also conducting discussions 
with Malaysia to focus on economic development along the Thai-
Malaysian border.

Return to growth rates of the early 1990's is not likely anytime 
soon.  Recovery from the current economic downturn could take at 
least a year and depends on restructuring the financial sector, 
attracting foreign investment, and increasing exports of 
manufactured goods.  Problems of infrastructure, evident before 
the financial crisis, will constrain future growth.  
Telecommunications, roadways, electricity generation, and ports 
showed increasing strain and bottlenecks during the period of 
sustained economic growth.  Thailand's growing shortage of 
engineers and skilled technical personnel threatens its future 
technological creativity and productivity.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Thailand's foreign policy includes support for ASEAN in the 
interest of regional stability and emphasis on a close and long-
standing security relationship with the United States.

Thailand participates fully in international and regional 
organizations.  It has developed increasingly close ties with 
other ASEAN members-- Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, 
Singapore, Brunei, Laos, Burma, and Vietnam--whose foreign and 
economic ministers hold annual meetings.  Regional cooperation is 
progressing in economic, trade, banking, political, and cultural 
matters.

After the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia in early 1979, the 
Cambodian civil conflict was Thailand's primary regional foreign 
policy concern.  For more than a decade Thailand provided 
humanitarian relief for displaced Cambodians along the Thai-
Cambodian border.  Following negotiations throughout 1991, a 
peace agreement was signed in Paris in October 1991.  Following 
this, hundreds of thousands of Cambodians were repatriated, and 
elections were held in Cambodia in 1993.  Developments in 
Cambodia since the political upheaval of July 1997 remain a key 
concern for Thai policymakers.

U.S.-THAI RELATIONS

Since World War II, the United States and Thailand have developed 
close relations, as reflected in several bilateral treaties and 
by both countries' participation in UN multilateral activities 
and agreements.  The principal bilateral arrangement is the 1966 
Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations, which facilitates U.S. 
and Thai companies' economic access.  Other important agreements 
address civil uses of atomic energy, sales of agricultural 
commodities, investment guarantees, and military and economic 
assistance.

The United States and Thailand are among the signatories of the 
1954 Manila pact of the former Southeast Asia Treaty Organization 
(SEATO).  Article IV(1) of this treaty provides that, in the 
event of armed attack in the treaty area (which includes 
Thailand), each member would "act to meet the common danger in 
accordance with its constitutional processes." Despite the 
dissolution of the SEATO in 1977, the Manila pact remains in 
force and, together with the Thanat-Rusk communique of 1962, 
constitutes the basis of U.S. security commitments to Thailand.  
Thailand continues to be a key security ally in Asia, along with 
Australia, Japan, and South Korea.

Thailand's stability and independence are important to the 
maintenance of peace in the region.  Economic assistance has been 
extended in various fields, including rural development, health, 
family planning, education, and science and technology.  However, 
the bilateral aid program is now being phased out, as Thailand 
becomes more developed.  The U.S. Peace Corps in Thailand has 
about 45 volunteers, focused on primary education, with an 
integrated program involving teacher training, health education 
and environmental education.

Thailand has received U.S. military equipment, essential 
supplies, training, and assistance in the construction and 
improvement of facilities and installations since 1950.  In 
recent years, U.S. security assistance has consisted of military 
training programs carried out primarily in the U.S. A small U.S. 
military advisory group in Thailand oversees the delivery of 
equipment to the Thai armed forces and the training of Thai 
military personnel in its use and maintenance.

As part of their mutual defense cooperation over the last decade, 
Thailand and the United States have developed a vigorous joint 
military exercise program, which engages all the services of each 
nation and now averages 40 joint exercises per year.

Thailand is a route for Golden Triangle--the intersection of 
Burma, Laos, and Thailand--heroin trafficking to international 
markets, including the United States.  While Thailand is no 
longer a significant opium producer, money laundering, police and 
military corruption, and a continuing narcotics flow out of Burma 
have hindered efforts to limit its role as a transfer point.

The United States and Thailand work closely together and with the 
United Nations on a broad range of programs to halt the flow of 
narcotics.  A memorandum of understanding was signed in 1971 
affirming U.S.-Thai cooperation, resulting in a strengthened Thai 
enforcement program.  With U.S. support, Thailand has a good 
record in crop control, law enforcement, and demand reduction but 
would benefit from greater efforts to stem money laundering.

TRADE AND INVESTMENT

Trade, long an engine of Thailand's economic growth, is down 
considerably from pre-crisis levels.  Thailand's trade balance 
returned to positive territory in the first half of 1998, but 
this resulted from a collapse of imports rather than a surge of 
export goods.  The U.S., Japan, ASEAN, and the EU remain 
Thailand's largest trading partners.  The U.S. is Thailand's 
largest export market, taking 20% of Thai exports.

Japan is Thailand's largest foreign investor, followed by Hong 
Kong and the U.S.  American investment, concentrated in the 
petroleum and chemicals, finance and automobile production 
sectors, is estimated slightly in excess of  $16 billion.

While many areas of agreement strengthen understanding and 
cooperation between the United States and Thailand, U.S. calls 
for Thailand to play a role in the world economic structure 
proportionate with its industrial diversification and growing 
economic importance have led to trade frictions and strains on 
otherwise excellent bilateral relations.  Thailand has made 
considerable progress in improving legal protections for 
intellectual property.  In recognition of this progress and 
following passage of a new copyright act in 1994, Thailand was 
removed from the priority watch list.  Thailand remains on the 
watch list, however, and the U.S. Government continues to work 
with Thailand to secure additional improvements in its legal 
regime and to encourage effective enforcement of existing 
legislation.

The United States also has an ongoing dialogue with Thailand on 
promoting worker rights.  U.S. legislation links worker rights 
with U.S. trade policy and continues to seek improved access for 
U.S. products and services in the Thai market.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Ambassador--William Itoh
Deputy Chief of Mission--Marie Huhtala
Acting Political Affairs Counselor--Eric Sandberg
Economic Affairs Counselor--Robert Fitts
Public Affairs Counselor--Virginia Loo Farris
Consul General--Alice C. Moore

The U.S. embassy in Thailand is located at 120/22 Wireless Road, 
Bangkok (tel. 66-2-205-4000).  There is a consulate at Chiang 
Mai, Vidhyanond Road (tel. 66-2-252-629/30-33).

TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION

The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program 
provides Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets.  Travel 
Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that 
Americans avoid travel to a certain country.  Consular 
Information Sheets exist for all countries and include 
information on immigration practices, currency regulations, 
health conditions, areas of instability, crime and security, 
political disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. posts in 
the country.  Public Announcements are issued as a means to 
disseminate information quickly about terrorist threats and other 
relatively short-term conditions overseas which pose significant 
risks to the security of American travelers.  Free copies of this 
information are available by calling the Bureau of Consular 
Affairs at 202-647-5225 or via the fax-on-demand system: 202-647-
3000.  Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets also are 
available on the Consular Affairs Internet home page: 
http://travel.state.gov and the Consular Affairs Bulletin Board 
(CABB).  To access CABB, dial the modem number: 301-946-4400 (it 
will accommodate up to 33,600 bps), set terminal communications 
program to N-8-1(no parity, 8 bits, 1 stop bit); and terminal 
emulation to VT100.  The login is travel and the password is 
info.  (Note: Lower case is required).  The CABB also carries 
international security information from the Overseas Security 
Advisory Council and Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security.  
Consular Affairs Trips for Travelers publication series, which 
contain information on obtaining passports and planning a safe 
trip abroad, can be purchased from the Superintendent of 
Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, 
Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954; telephone: 202-512-1800; fax 202-512-
2250.

Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may 
be obtained from the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 
(202) 647-5225.  For after-hours emergencies, Sundays and 
holidays, call 202-647-4000.

Passport Services information can be obtained by calling the 24-
hour, 7-day a week automated system ($.35 per minute) or live 
operators 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EST) Monday-Friday ($1.05 per 
minute).  The number is 1-900-225-5674 (TDD: 1-900-225-7778).  
Major credit card users (for a flat rate of $4.95) may call 1-
888-362-8668 (TDD: 1-888-498-3648).

Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S.  
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.  
A hotline at (404) 332-4559 gives the most recent health 
advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements, and 
advice on food and drinking water safety for regions and 
countries. A booklet entitled Health Information for 
International Travel (HHS publication number CDC-95-8280) is 
available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, 
DC 20402, tel. (202) 512-1800.

Information on travel conditions, visa requirements, currency and 
customs regulations, legal holidays, and other items of interest 
to travelers also may be obtained before your departure from a 
country's embassy and/or consulates in the U.S. (for this 
country, see "Principal Government Officials" listing in this 
publication).

U.S. citizens who are long-term visitors or traveling in 
dangerous areas are encouraged to register at the U.S. embassy 
upon arrival in a country (see "Principal U.S. Embassy Officials" 
listing in this publication).  This may help family members 
contact you in case of an emergency.

Further Electronic Information

Department of State Foreign Affairs Network.  Available on the 
Internet, DOSFAN provides timely, global access to official U.S.  
foreign policy information.  Updated daily, DOSFAN includes 
Background Notes; Dispatch, the official magazine of U.S. foreign 
policy; daily press briefings; Country Commercial Guides; 
directories of key officers of foreign service posts; etc.  
DOSFAN's World Wide Web site is at http://www.state.gov.

U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD-ROM (USFAC).  Published on an annual 
basis by the U.S. Department of State, USFAC archives information 
on the Department of State Foreign Affairs Network, and includes 
an array of official foreign policy information from 1990 to the 
present.  Contact the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. 
Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 
15250-7954.  To order, call (202) 512-1800 or fax (202) 512-2250.

National Trade Data Bank (NTDB).  Operated by the U.S. Department 
of Commerce, the NTDB contains a wealth of trade-related 
information.  It is available on the Internet (www.stat-usa.gov) 
and on CD-ROM.  Call the NTDB Help-Line at (202) 482-1986 for 
more information.

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