UK eyes AEC, ASEAN+6 penetration

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BANGKOK, May 20 – The United Kingdom is keen to set up a network for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Thailand in a move to boost its trade and investment in Southeast Asia, a senior Thai official said today.

A memorandum of understanding was signed today between Thai Industry Minister Prasert Bunchaisuk and British Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire on bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

Under the terms of the MoU, the Thai Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion and UK Trade and Investment will enhance cooperation regarding the SMEs of both countries.

The competitive edge of Thai and British SMEs will be boosted in every aspect, according to the agreement, whether raw materials supply, technology, or marketing and management, so that the SMEs of both countries are strong enough to compete in the global market especially in Southeast Asia and the European Union (EU).

Mr Prasert said the three-year period of cooperation could double the two countries’ trade value, currently at Bt40 billion a year.

Thailand is keen to jointly invest with in clean energy with the UK, while Britain wants to develop Thailand as its source for raw materials on industrial food.

The minister was optimistic that the cooperation will lead to exchange of information, knowledge and experience on technology, global practice and industrial trainings, and pairing between Thai and British investors.

The cooperation will pave the way for the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 and broaden trading activity between the UK and the ASEAN+6 countries, he said, describing the move as an opportunity for Thailand to become a goods and service centre between the UK and Southeast Asian countries.