UK-Thailand JETCO & UK-Thailand Business Forum 2022
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21 June, London – The UK-ASEAN Business Council (UKABC) and the Department for International Trade today hosted the UK-Thailand Business Forum as part of the inaugural ministerial UK-Thailand Joint Economic Trade Committee (JETCO) meeting. Ian Gibbons, Chief Executive of the UKABC, and host of the Forum, in his welcoming remarks applauded the partnership and collaboration in achieving the historic JETCO saying business is ready to engage and looks forward to furthering UK-Thailand bilateral trade through the Forum.
The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP, DIT Trade Policy Minister delivered a keynote address highlighting the importance of concluding the JETCO with ASEAN’s second-largest economy. Minister Mordaunt shared that the UK and Thailand were turbocharging policy engagement to enable innovative solutions to grow bilateral trade currently worth £4.8 billion. Announcing the Enhanced Trade Partnership, Minister Mordaunt said the ambition is to tackle market access barriers and promote trade cooperation.
H.E. Jurin Laksanawisit, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce lauded the hard work of both governments and recognised that collaboration between the public and private sectors was essential for trade values to return to pre-covid levels. Deputy Prime Minister Laksanawisit stressed that the Thai government is fully behind UK business that wants to invest in Thailand and benefit from the 14 Free Trade Agreements Thailand has signed, including the world’s largest, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
The Forum saw a panel discussion chaired by Freya Thomas Monk, UKABC Board Director and Senior Vice President at Pearson, that heard greater detail on the JETCO that covers five priority sectors for the UK namely agriculture, food and drink, financial services, healthcare and tech. Senior business executives in their comments during the Q&A session welcomed the signing of the JETCO and encouraged the next steps to include services and to explore how the UK can support Thailand in the development of their Bio-Circular-Green Economic Model and ESG goals. The panel also noted the benefits of Thailand joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) but acknowledged there were issues to work through.
During the panel, Cathryn Law, Director of Bilateral Trade Relations, Department for International Trade explained the significance of the Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) status with Thailand noting that this is only the second ETP the UK has launched, the first being with India. The ETP is symbolic of the immense potential that Thailand offers UK businesses in a range of sectors.
The Forum also saw Mark Garnier MP, the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Thailand, Myanmar and Brunei, announce the new appointments of the Thailand-UK Business Council and the Thailand-UK Business Leadership Council with Rupert Goodman Chair of the former in London and Dr Thaweelap Rittapirom the Secretary-General to the latter in Bangkok.
Sam Myers, Deputy Trade Commissioner for Southeast Asia in his concluding remarks reminded the audience of the many business opportunities with Thailand and echoed Chotima Lemsawasdikul, Deputy Director-General, Department for Trade Negotiations, Thailand saying ‘Let’s work together to make it happen’.
UKABC’s Chair Baroness Neville-Rolfe closed the Forum congratulating the Thai and UK governments on the successful JETCO noting Thailand’s bright future and that of ASEAN’s.