Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has urged further cooperation between Asean and the European Union (EU) in three key areas -- sustainable quality infrastructure development, electric vehicles development and the improvement of Asean's trade standards.
Gen Prayut was addressing a C-Suite Roundtable Luncheon organised by the EU-Asean Business Council (EU-ABC) in Brussels on Tuesday.
In the area of sustainable quality infrastructure development, the prime minister encouraged the EU to expand its investment in infrastructure development in Asean and Thailand.
With more investment from the EU, Asean should be able to put in place a sustainable modern network of clean energy, transport and digital technology, which would benefit investors from the EU interested in spending more in Asean, he said.
Gen Prayut also urged EU and Asian countries currently relying on imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) to consider adopting new levels of cooperation in order to better manage LNG-related infrastructure.
This should focus on the import and storage of LNG, which would help manage fluctuating LNG prices and ensure energy security in both regions, he said.
The development of electric vehicles, meanwhile, is an important part of Asean's clean energy goal, which aims to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and increase renewable energy use, said Gen Prayut.
In this area of economic development, Thailand has been supporting industries, including those involved in EV production, to use as much clean energy as possible, he said.
Thailand is also focusing on generating energy from green hydrogen, which is believed to be an ideal approach to achieving Asean's carbon-neutrality goal, he said.
Gen Prayut said he believes the EU may also play a key role in supporting Asean's development in this area by supporting the import of green and environmentally-friendly products from Asean through lowering import tariffs. He added that he hoped the EU would support the import of these products by including them in the bloc's so-called "Green Lane".
In the third area of economic development, Gen Prayut expressed his hope to see more cooperation between Asean and the EU, and between the EU and Thailand, in further developing the standards of Asean's and Thailand's trade to meet EU standards.
Asean is working hard to improve its trade standards in terms of environmental protection, trade sustainability, labour rights and intellectual rights protection, he said.
Assistance from the EU in improving trade standards will also help negotiations on more free trade agreements between the EU and Asean nations, he said.
Gen Prayut also met Charles Michel, president of the European Council.
Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri on Wednesday said their discussions dealt mainly with the future signing of the Thai-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (Thai-EU PCA).
Other topics discussed included cooperation on sustainable green economic development between Thailand and the EU, and security including cyber security, maritime security and terrorism suppression, he said.