Thailand and the United Kingdom have agreed to further promote investment-friendly conditions, as well as to eliminate trade impediments and ease necessary regulations.
The agreement was reached at the first session of the Thailand-United Kingdom Strategic Dialogue, held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok on 20 May 2013. The session was co-chaired by the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand, Mr. Jullapong Nonsrichai, and the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in the United Kingdom, the Right Honourable Hugo Swire.
In the joint press release for the session, the two co-chairs exchanged views on a number of bilateral issues of common interest, including the promotion of two-way trade and investment, tourism promotion and tourist safety, defense and security cooperation, education and training, and the exchange of knowledge and best practices in areas such as creative economy, as well as science and technology.
On the economic front, the two sides reviewed the growing two-way trade and investment, where the United Kingdom continues to be one of Thailand’s largest trading partners in the European Union. Both sides shared the view that the current bilateral trade volume could be increased substantially. The meeting suggested that both Governments look into doubling the current bilateral trade volume by 2018.
The two co-chairs recognized the important role that the United Kingdom could play in enhancing English language training and teaching in Thailand, in light of Thailand’s efforts to strengthen national competitiveness and readiness for the formation of the ASEAN Community in 2015.
Thailand expressed its profound appreciation for the United Kingdom’s support, through the British Council, on several ongoing projects in collaboration with the Ministry of Education of Thailand. The British side also reaffirmed the British Council’s commitment to provide assistance in this regard.
Another key deliverable of the meeting is the agreement for further discussion with relevant partners in the UK on the introduction of the “Premier Skills” Project, which was previously proposed by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to her British counterpart during her official visit to the United Kingdom in November 2012. The project is designed to develop necessary skills, such as leadership and the English language, through football training for Thai youths, particularly in the southern border provinces of Thailand.
The two co-chairs also expressed appreciation for the dynamic flow of people-to-people contacts and pledged to promote the safety and security of tourists and residents alike. Visas were seen as one of the key factors in facilitating or impeding the flow of people, and so both sides agreed that immigration regulations should aim to be straightforward and transparent to help genuine tourists, business visitors, students and residents.
The two delegations also welcomed the signing of the MOU on SME Cooperation between the Office of SME Promotion and United Kingdom Trade and Investment (UKTI), which is aimed at promoting collaboration between Thai and British SMEs, as well as the MOU between the Royal Mint and the Royal Thai Mint to enhance Thailand’s capacity in becoming a regional hub for production and distribution of coins.
The two co-chairs also welcomed positive developments in the realm of defense, particularly the re-opening of a fully functional Office of the British Defense Attaché and the re-establishment of a resident British Defense Attaché post in Bangkok. Thailand also welcomed the announcement by the British Royal Navy that HMS Daring, one of the most advanced destroyers in the Royal Navy, is scheduled to visit Thailand in January 2014.
The two delegations encouraged the Royal Thai Navy and the British Royal Navy to explore possible joint activities to commemorate the occasion and step up their partnerships.