Upon welcoming his Swedish counterpart, Mr. Carl Bildt, to the kingdom, Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul took the opportunity to discuss ways to strengthen the bonds between the two countries. Their talks centered on mutual cooperation in the fields of politics, economy, trade and investment as well as criminal cases.
The discussion also covered the topic of Swedish business operations in Thailand, of which the present investment value stands at over 2 billion US dollars, or around 60 billion baht. With IKEA being the latest Swedish business to have opened its branch in Thailand, Mr. Surapong has encouraged more Swedish entrepreneurs to invest in the country, saying Thailand has been ranked by the World Bank as the second best investment destination in Southeast Asia and number 17 in the world.
In terms of tourism, Thailand is the most preferred travel destination among Swedish tourists, with more than 400,000 of them traveling to Thailand each year.
Furthermore, the two ministers have congratulated Myanmar on its positive development given the European Union's decision to suspend sanctions on Thailand's neighbour for a period of one year in order to contribute to the growth of democracy in that country.
Mr. Surapong has also taken the opportunity to assure the Swedish minister of the country's stability. He termed Mr. Carl Bildt’s visit as a manifestation of the EU’s confidence in the country's situation. It is expected that the Swedish Trade Minister will pay a visit to Thailand in May to proceed and finalize plans of cooperation between Thailand and Sweden.