Thai PM to meet several leaders during ASEM

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BANGKOK, Oct 8 Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, head of Thailand’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) which seized power in the May 22 bloodless coup, said Wednesday that he would confer with a number of government leaders during the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Milan, Italy on October 16-17.

Gen Prayut told journalists that arrangements are being made for him to meet and discuss with foreign government leaders.

Gen Prayut said he would definitely meet government leaders of fellow member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Describing ASEM as a top platform for Asian and European countries, Gen Prayut said ASEAN members must become stronger by building basic infrastructure, including improving water management, as well as trade and banking regulations to meet world standards.

“If we could improve them, then we can say we’re ready. But we’re not ready today and we’re improving them and they must be done as quickly as possible,” said Gen Prayut.

He said trade barriers could be imposed on Thailand if the country does not reduce trade procedures that are interfering with trade, such as deducting taxes.

On plans by the European Union to remove a generalized system of preferences on 723 Thai trade items after January 1, Gen Prayut said this is another problem and requests will have to be made with the bloc to postpone the measure.

Touching on his plan two-day official visit to Myanmar, starting tomorrow, Gen Prayut said he would confer with Myanmar government leaders on border trade, security, economy, investment, drug trafficking and cooperation on the Dawei deep-sea port development project.