Special Report: PM increases cooperation with Europe during recent visit

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During July 17-21, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has attended business road shows in Germany and France to boost foreign investors’ confidence and encourage more investments in Thailand from the European investors.

The Prime Minister was updated on the latest situation surrounding the financial crisis in Europe during her official visit to Germany last week. She also met with Thai officials working in Germany at the Consulate General of Thailand in Frankfurt.

During the meeting, the PM told attending officials that her visit has highlighted 150 years of bilateral relations between Thailand and Germany and allowed her to convince the German government of the Thai administration’s commitment to both nations’ strong ties despite the financial crisis.

In addition, PM Yingluck has instructed the Ministry of Commerce to work with the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to make sure that Thai products shipped to Germany meet acceptable standards to prevent any setback on Thai trade.

Apart from the meeting with the Thai officials, the Prime Minister held a discussion with representatives from the business sector, the Federation of Thai Industries, and the Board of Trade of Thailand regarding the promotion of Thai goods, Thailand’s food security, the Thai Kitchen of the World project, and the plans to encourage the Thai private sector to switch to alternative energy sources.

During the official visit to France, the Prime Minister affirmed French President Francois Hollande that Thailand is determined to uphold the strategic partnership it has made with France.

Ms Yingluck also suggested to the French leader that both nations implement more action plans to further promote bilateral relations in such a way that Thailand and France will mutually benefit.

France is Thailand’s fourth-largest trading partner in the European Union, with 4.6 billion US dollars’ worth of trade registered in 2011, a 27-percent year-on-year increase. Key export items to France include garments, computers, rubber, and jewelry.

The Premier also informed President Hollande that the Thai government is ready to offer all possible supports for various economic measures the EU has introduced, in order to help solve the crisis some of its member countries have experienced.

On the last day of her official visit to France, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra met with some 300 members of the Thai communities from France, Norway and Denmark.

The PM thanked all at the meeting for their support while expressing confidence in the Pheu Thai-led government’s efforts in the post-flood rehabilitation.

Moreover, she asked attending Thais about their problems while living abroad, and was told that most of which were about their work in Thai restaurants and spa as well as their lack of Thai ID cards.

The Premier assured them that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would take a lead in solving all problems, and that Thais living abroad would be able to have an ID card beginning in 2013, after which they would also be able to cast votes in all elections.