From Volume 36, Issue 48 of EIR Online, Published Dec. 11, 2009

Global Economic News

Thailand Takes Another 'Green' Leap into Self-Destruction

Dec. 3 (EIRNS)—The Thai Supreme Administrative Court has given the go-ahead to permanently halt 65 industrial projects in various stages of construction in the Ma Ta Phut industrial district, on the grounds of danger to health. Only 11 of the projects there will be allowed to continue construction.

The projects were initially halted by a lower court on an environmentalist/villager suit claiming that the projects did not meet the requirement of the (militarily imposed) Constitution, that all building and industrial projects meet certain vague and arbitrary requirements. The halted projects all had met the requirements and received the necessary permits when construction was started.

Many of the projects that have been stopped involved the production of semi-finished industrial chemicals from petroleum feedstocks, so "downstream" firms that depend on their production will also be put out of business or forced to import the chemicals at greater cost.

The Japan Chamber of Commerce in Thailand, which represents many of the companies involved in the projects, warns that Thailand is making itself an unsuitable location for future investment.

The majority of the projects that were allowed to go forward were "green" in nature, either involving "clean energy" or recycling of some type. There is no breakdown of the size and scope of individual projects at this point, but in total the 68 projects had a value of over $10 billion.

The English-language The Nation comments enthusiastically that the ruling "has raised public suspicion as to whether industrial expansion is worthwhile," which is line with the environmentalist groups that have another 300-plus industrial locations in their sights.

South Korea Launches Nuclear Export Policy

Dec. 4 (EIRNS)—South Korea's science ministry said the state-run Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute and Daewoo Engineering and Construction Co. have been chosen as the priority negotiating partners by Jordan's Atomic Energy Commission. The deal, reached in Amman, is estimated to be worth around 200 billion won (US$173 million) and calls for a 5-megawatt research reactor to be built at the Jordan University for Sciences and Technology by 2014. Construction of related facilities, such as a radioactive isotope laboratory, is expected to also take place.

South Korea is extremely eager to begin exports of nuclear reactors. This deal, even if only for a small research reactor, is the first sale to a foreign country. Korea is also bidding on a full-scale power reactor for the United Arab Emirates.

EU Carbon Market in the Making?

Dec. 5 (EIRNS)—Using the excuse of the fraud that has been exposed in all the European Union's carbon-trading markets, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde told the Financial Times today that a single European carbon-trading market should be created either in London, Frankfurt, or Paris, under the authority of a single EU-wide regulator.

Lagarde said that "dark pools" have emerged. "There is a regulatory vacuum. Because this is a strange beast, something between commodities and financial instruments, it falls between the cracks. If derivatives are created or other subsidiary financial instruments built from carbon-emissions trading, there should be a system of prior authorization.... We need to be able to spot the funny investments, fishy transactions, and strange behavior."

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