Thailand, UK strengthen ties towards strategic economic partnership

Picture courtesy of GOV.UK

Thailand and the United Kingdom (UK)are looking to fortify their economic ties now the toxic dust of Brexit has settled. With the next Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) meeting on the horizon this November, it’s believed that both countries are ready to elevate their relationship to a potential strategic economic partnership.

JETCO Director-General Auramon Supthaweethum spoke at length about the expected sectors that are set to benefit from this economic bolstering. These sectors range from food and drink, health, education, the automotive industry, agriculture, and the digital sector. The subsequent aim of these actions is to form a foothold for future negotiations of free trade between the two nations.

The economic relationship between Thailand and the UK has flourished since the UK severed ties with the European Union in 2021. It was within that same year that the two countries put pen to paper and agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding. The mission is to establish JETCO. The goal of this endeavour was the amplification and enhancement of economic cooperation in trade and investment, focussing particularly on sectors that spark mutual interest, reported Bangkok Post.

The first ministerial JETCO meeting was hosted in June of the previous year. Among the attendance were Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit and the UK’s Minister of State for Trade Policy, Penny Mordaunt. Within this first meeting, a 1-2 year work plan was approved to facilitate trade expansion and reduce trade barriers within the aforementioned mutually interesting sectors.

The eagerly-awaited JETCO session in November is set to be hosted by Thailand and is expected to yield a report on the work plan’s progress. The report will then profoundly inform the building of a strategic economic partnership focused on sectors of mutual interest.

Data from 2022 indicates the UK was Thailand’s 22nd largest trading partner, with the bilateral trade between the countries being valued at an astounding US$6.20 billion, marking a 12.3% increase when compared to 2021’s figures.

The first half of 2023 has seen these figures improve even further, with the bilateral trade between the two nations reaching the sum of US$3.03 billion.

Key exported goods from Thailand to the UK include processed chicken, vehicles and parts related to cars and motorcycles, aircraft and parts, as well as jewellery and gemstones. Alternatively, imports from the UK to Thailand prominently feature machinery and parts, electrical circuits, mineral water, carbonated beverages, spirits, motor vehicles, and medical science equipment.

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