Thailand, UK upgrade economic ties

Thailand, UK upgrade economic ties

Thailand and the UK have announced the elevation of economic, trade and investment relations to a strategic partnership, serving as a foundation for the development of a free trade agreement (FTA) in the future.

On March 30, Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai and Britain's Minister for Investment, Lord Dominic Johnson, along with British ambassador Mark Gooding, held a diplomatic meeting to discuss economic collaboration between the UK and Thailand.

The discussions revolved around fortifying economic ties and fostering trade and investment opportunities.

This pivotal dialogue laid the groundwork for the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on enhanced trade partnership at the upcoming second Joint Economic and Trade Committee meeting, scheduled to be hosted by Thailand on May 31.

The MoU aims to drive policy cooperation in key strategic areas of mutual interest such as agriculture, food and beverages, digital innovation, product standards, investment, and tourism.

This initiative aims to create opportunities and facilitate trade and investment, aligning with the strategic partnership policy and utilising proactive economic diplomacy to open trade doors.

Both parties hope that the MoU, including the planned collaborative activities in each sector to be carried out under the agreement over the next 2-3 years, will be beneficial in enhancing the understanding of regulations, addressing trade barriers, increasing import-export value, and attracting more investment, while serving as a foundation for considering the development of a Thailand-UK FTA in the future.

Of notable interest to the UK is Thailand's digital wallet policy, viewed as an economic stimulus which not only enhances financial flexibility and stimulates local spending but also nurtures micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises and fuels industrial growth, thereby increasing employment.

In 2023 the UK was Thailand's 22nd largest trading partner, with a trade value of US$6.74 billion.

Thailand's exports to the UK surged to $4.07 billion, while imports stood at $2.66 billion.

Key Thai export products to the UK include processed chicken, automobiles and auto parts, motorcycles and parts, aircraft and parts, gems and jewellery.

Significant imports from the UK include machinery and parts, electrical circuits, mineral water, carbonated beverages, spirits, medical and pharmaceutical products, and medical science equipment.

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