Finance ministers from Asia and Europe will explore ways of boosting trade and investment between the two regions when they meet at the 10th Asia-Europe Finance Ministers' Meeting today in Bangkok.
Somchai Sujjapongse, the director general of the Fiscal Policy Office, said senior officials representing 43 member countries yesterday agreed that encouraging trade between the two regions is critical. "Also, there was agreement that there is fiscal space among Asian countries to help boost growth," he said.
"The question is how to encourage the business sectors of the two regions to increase cross-investment, particularly from Asia to Europe."
The finance ministers will review economic and financial development prospects for the two regions, current mechanisms in place to ensure global financial stability and a partnership to enhance inter-regional investment and trade.
Ministers representing 46 out of 49 members are expected to attend the conference, as well as representatives of the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.
Mr Somchai said recommendations from the meeting would be forwarded to leaders of the Asia-Europe group at the summit in Vientiane on Nov 5-6.
Areepong Bhoocha-oom, the Finance Ministry permanent secretary, noted that large Thai companies, such as the CP Group and Thai Union Frozen Products, have increased their investment in Europe in recent years.
"It's clear that large companies can and do invest. But what about smaller companies? Is there a way to facilitate investment?" Mr Areepong said, pointing to Thai restaurateurs as one possible investor group in Europe.
About the author
- Writer: Wichit Chantanusornsiri
Position: Business Reporter