Thailand and the UK are preparing for a second Joint Economic and Trade Committee (Jetco) meeting, which Thailand is set to host in November.
According to Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, both parties are ready to elevate the economic cooperation to an enhanced trade partnership or a strategic economic partnership in sectors such as food, beverages, health, education, automotive, agriculture and digital.
She said this partnership aims to pave the way for future free trade agreement negotiations between the two countries.
Following the UK's exit from the EU in 2021, Thailand has strengthened economic relations with the country. The duo signed a memorandum of understanding to establish Jetco last year, aiming to promote and enhance economic cooperation on trade and investment, particularly in sectors of mutual interest.
The first ministerial-level Jetco meeting was held in June last year, with Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit and Penny Mordaunt, the UK minister of state for trade policy, co-chairing the meeting.
During the meeting, they approved a work plan for the next 1-2 years to expand and facilitate trade, reducing barriers in sectors of mutual interest, including agriculture, digital, investment, automotive, food and beverages, financial services and health.
The second Jetco meeting, to be hosted by Thailand in November 2023, is expected to report on the progress of the work plan and move towards developing a strategic economic partnership in sectors of mutual interest.
In 2022, the UK was Thailand's 22nd-largest trading partner. Bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to US$6.20 billion, up 12.3% from the previous year.
Thailand's exports to the UK reached $4 billion in 2022, while imports from the UK amounted to $2.16 billion.
In the first five months of 2023, bilateral trade between Thailand and the UK tallied $3.03 billion, with Thailand's exports amounting to $1.81 billion and imports from the UK reaching $1.21 billion.
Key Thai export products to the UK include processed chicken, automobiles and auto parts, motorcycles and parts, aircraft and parts, jewellery and gemstones. Significant imports from the UK include machinery and parts, electrical circuits, mineral water, carbonated beverages, spirits, passenger cars and medical science equipment.