Hong Kong starts high-level talks on economic cooperation

Hong Kong starts high-level talks on economic cooperation

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak shares a joke with executives at a Hong Kong business seminar in Bangkok on Thursday. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak shares a joke with executives at a Hong Kong business seminar in Bangkok on Thursday. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

Thailand and Hong Kong will begin a new chapter of cooperation which will see an expansion in trade and investment links, enhanced capital market cooperation and relocation of some of Hong Kong's production base into the kingdom, said Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.

Mr Somkid and Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam will co-chair the first meeting of the Hong Kong-Thailand High-Level Joint Committee (HJLC) today in Bangkok. HJLC is a permanent mechanism set up to deepen cooperation between the two economies.

The deputy premier said in his keynote speech at an investment seminar attended by 200 companies from Hong Kong and Thailand on Thursday that the HJLC meeting will pave the way for deeper economic cooperation.

"The visit of Hong Kong investors, led by chief executive Carrie Lam comes at the the right time, considering the state of the global economy and ongoing trade rifts," he said.

"We hope to see our two-way trade volume increase to US$20 billion [about 604.5 billion baht] next year, up from $15 billion this year," he said.

The meeting, which will be held at Government House, will be attended by ministers responsible for the economy, and executives from the Board of Investment, Stock Exchange of Thailand, Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Thai Industries, and Thai Bankers Association.

Mr Somkid also said cooperation will expand to cover new areas, including the technology and services sectors. "In the past, free trade agreements between Hong Kong and Thailand tended to focus on just commodities," he said.

The deputy premier also said talks on the possible relocation of Hong Kong factories from mainland China to Thailand have been scheduled, in light of the ongoing trade dispute between China and the United States. He said Thailand is an "appropriate" location and the government through the BoI will support the move by offering privileges and other incentives.

Mr Somkid also talked about the integration of capital markets, saying Thailand will ask Hong Kong to allow the cross-listing of public companies.

"In the future, investors from Hong Kong will be able to raise funds in the Thai stock exchange, as well as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam," he said. "Similarly, Thai companies will be able to raise funds from the Hang Seng."

At the seminar, Edward Yau, Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, also touted Hong Kong's high potential to Thai investors.

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