British International Trade Secretary Liam Fox arrived in Thailand on Wednesday to boost trade relations between the two countries.
The first United Kingdom trade minister to visit Thailand in 15 years, he is seeking to expand trade ties and is expected to raise the subject of Thailand holding democratic elections.
While in Bangkok he will meet leading businesses and Thai government ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, his counterpart Sonthirat Sonthijirawong, the Thai Minister of Commerce, and Pichet Durongkaveroj, Minister of Digital Economy and Society.
“The UK’s trade with Thailand is growing steadily, but there is still huge untapped demand for British goods and services across the Thai economy, which is growing strongly and has a large middle class,” Fox said in press statement.
“The IMF (International Monetary Fund) predicts 90 per cent of global growth in the coming years will come from outside the EU, and this government is putting the UK in a position to benefit, particularly by boosting export finance and showcasing British companies to the Asian market,” he said.
Thailand is the second largest economy in Southeast Asia and bilateral trade with the UK increased by 2.8 per cent to £5.6 billion (Bt246 billion) in 2015-2016. Currently, the majority of UK exports are in machinery, vehicles and mechanical appliances.
Thailand is implementing its “Thailand 4.0 industrial strategy”, with a particular emphasis on moving towards a digital economy, from rolling out high-speed Internet access for all villages to setting up a big data analytics centre.
Fox will showcase how the UK’s world-class digital sector can the support this strategy. This follows a recent visit by Thai digital companies to the UK.
Fox will also be promoting the capability of UK companies in areas such as financial services, and transportation, said the statement.