Thailand, UK pledge to revitalise bilateral trade

Thailand, UK pledge to revitalise bilateral trade

Mr Jurin and Ms Mordaunt are pictured at the first Joint Economic and Trade Committee meeting between Thailand and the UK held on Tuesday in London.
Mr Jurin and Ms Mordaunt are pictured at the first Joint Economic and Trade Committee meeting between Thailand and the UK held on Tuesday in London.

Thailand and the United Kingdom aim to reinvigorate two-way trade between the two countries to US$7 billion as quickly as possible after the value declined significantly over the past five years.

Speaking after the first Joint Economic and Trade Committee meeting between Thailand and the United Kingdom held in London on Tuesday, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said the meeting offered a significant new opportunity to improve bilateral trade, including by addressing trade barriers affecting business activity in both countries.

According to Mr Jurin, participants in the meeting discussed potential partnerships in six areas comprising digital, agriculture, food and drink, healthcare, financial services as well as trade promotion and investment activities.

He said the two parties agreed to accelerate the partnership in these six areas quickly, while the Senior Officials' Meeting has been assigned to hold a joint meeting between the two sides and devise action plans to increase two-way trade to $7 billion.

Demonstrating the importance of the UK-Thailand trade relationship, and building on the productive work to date, Mr Jurin and Penny Mordaunt, the UK minister of state for trade policy, also agreed to develop an Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) in the future, Mr Jurin said.

This will launch a more ambitious programme of work to increase trade in multiple sectors which would include undertaking trade policy cooperation, tackling trade barriers, and promoting business and trade activity. The ETP could provide a first step in laying the foundations for a potential free trade agreement in the future.

The trade ministers of the two countries also established a trade cooperation working group to build on the work of the recently completed Joint Trade Review. This would identify and resolve barriers to trade and promote policy and trade cooperation projects.

The ministers welcomed the partnership between the Thai-UK Business Leadership Council and the newly established Thai-UK Business Council as well as the business roundtable organised by the UK-Asean Business Council. They agreed to build an engagement programme with business to explore the UK and Thailand trade landscapes, investment packages as well as domestic rules and regulations.

Over a five-year period, the value of trade between Thailand and the UK fell from $7 billion in 2017 to $5.5 billion last year.

The UK was Thailand's 22nd-largest trading partner in 2021 accounting for 1% of its total trade. The UK was the 25th largest exporter to Thailand in 2021, accounting for 0.8% of Thailand's imports, and it was Thailand's 19th largest export market, accounting for 1.3% of all Thai exports.

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