Connect with us


Phuket business: Thailand-UK trade steady; London Olympics to give Thai food exports a boost



PHUKET: After a moving ceremony handing out IB diplomas to graduating students at the British International school, HE Ambassador Asif Ahmad took time to speak with the Phuket Gazette about the strong links between the two countries.

HE Asif Ahmad was made Ambassador to Thailand in late 2010 but had traveled frequently to the Kingdom, first as Director- Asia for UK Trade and Investment and more recently as Head of the South East Asia and Pacific Group for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

A holiday destination for more than 850,000 British citizens a year, Thailand is also home to a number of British businesses and trade flows well between the two countries. One of the embassy’s roles is helping British companies to succeed in Thailand and South East Asia and to smooth the path for Thai investors in the UK.

“My main job is to look after national interests, whether it be UK citizens themselves or the UK economy, which currently needs all the help it can get. We try to help UK businesses here. These come in all shapes and sizes, from an individual selling his services as a consultant to the other extreme such as Tesco, which has well over a 1,000 stores in Thailand, or Boots with 200. For example Triumph make most of their motorbikes here,” he said

Asked about Thai investors in the UK he had this to say: “The single biggest investment into the UK last year, from any country in the world, was from Thailand.

Sahaviriya Steel invested in the closed Teeside steel plant, saving and creating over 1,500 jobs. Right now there is a trade deficit between Britain and Thailand. Thailand outsells Britain by over a billion pounds a year. This one deal alone will equalize that as we will have steel from Teeside coming to Thailand at a value of a billion pounds a year from now on.”

As for the future, HE Ahmad says the big challenge for mature economies like those in the UK and America is to be able to participate in Asia’s growth.

“Future growth will not just come from India and China, which we always seem to mention, but also from the Association of South East Nations (ASEAN). The UK already sells more to the ASEAN community than India and China put together. That doesn’t mean we should be happy about that; it means we should sell more to China and India. The opening up of ASEAN however is a great opportunity for us to sell everything from food processing technology to pharmaceuticals.”

On the subject of the recent graduates’ prospects in the UK he had this to say: “As I told the students here today, one gift they now have is the English language – this is the language of Asia and the World. Many students here have the advantage of being able to speak more than one language and this is a huge advantage for them. Around 6,000 Thai students currently study in the UK and students from International schools like this one [BIS] need no conversion when they arrive in the UK as they already speak the global language.”

London Olympics to give Thai food exports a boost

A Thai trade official has projected that the value of food exports to the United Kingdom (UK) this year will exceed US$ 1.2 billion (38 billion baht), as the Summer Olympic Games in London boost demand and economic growth despite financial turmoil in Europe.

“Although the financial crunch in the European Union has had an impact on Thailand’s exports, demand for Thai products in the UK market, particularly foods, has not been affected as Britons have good consumer sentiment ahead of the Olympic Games,” said Chulit Stavorn, executive director of the Thai Trade Center in London.

Chulit said export of Thai foods to the UK had increased gradually each year, from US$675mn (21.4bn baht) in 2007 to US$938mn (29.7bn baht) in 2010.

Last year, exports of Thai food products to the UK were worth US$ 1.1bn. Major export products were processed chicken, worth US$ 555mn (17.6bn baht), followed by canned seafoods, frozen shrimp, rice, noodles, processed foods and fresh and canned fruits.

Chulit said the EU’s cancellation of its import ban on fresh chicken from Thailand in July would also boost the Kingdom’s poultry exports to the UK and EU markets. He expects that Thai chicken exports to the UK should increase by US$ 400mn (12.7bn baht) this year.

Chulit also expects that the plan of CP Foods, Thailand’s leading food producer, to take over Birds Eye, a giant British fish-finger producer, will boost trading opportunities for Thai products in the UK if the bid is successful.

The deal is not yet finalized, as more than three firms are interested in taking over Birds Eye.

— Marc Mulloy / The Nation


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Video6 hours ago

Timeline of the mass shooting in Thailand

Crime7 hours ago

Finnish CEO detained for alleged mistreatment of 1,100 Thai berry pickers

Thailand7 hours ago

Thailand News Today | No drugs detected in system of daycare center killer

Sponsored15 hours ago

5 reasons why Thailand educators shouldn’t miss Bett Asia in Bangkok this year

Myanmar8 hours ago

Burmese junta sentences Japanese journalist for sedition and other charges

Thailand8 hours ago

Thai woman & foreign men charged for child sex trafficking in Pattaya

Guides8 hours ago

10 strange laws to be aware of in Thailand

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand8 hours ago

Love rat Thai soldier threaten’s Israeli husband of adulterous wife

Best of9 hours ago

Outstanding halal restaurants in Bangkok

Pattaya9 hours ago

Pattaya dwellers want public restrooms built faster at pier

Thailand9 hours ago

No Buddhist temples willing to cremate body of daycare centre killer

Phuket10 hours ago

AI upgrade planned for pier in Phuket

Medical10 hours ago

When snakes strike, why not call for the chicken-ass squad?

Crime10 hours ago

Massacre in Thailand: No drugs detected in system of daycare centre killer

Thailand10 hours ago

Woman’s body in suitcase identified as Lao millionaire

Crime10 hours ago

Massacre in Thailand raises questions on gun control

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11