General Prayuth Chan-ocha
Once again, I have the privilege of extending my congratulations to the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (BCCT) and its members on the occasion of the publication of its annual handbook and directory, this year entitled "United Kingdoms - Partners in Progress".
As Thailand and the United Kingdom face a new and challenging era of international trade and commerce with many global changes, it is essential for both our countries to accentuate our close bonds that have flourished for many centuries. This unique and longstanding history of understanding, friendship, and partnership will be essential for both our countries, given the many challenges that lie ahead in an increasingly competitive and technologically advanced global economy.
With such initiatives as the 'Thailand 4.0' policy, the drafting of a 20-year National Strategy, and the drive towards a digital economy, Thailand is looking forward to an even stronger partnership with the United Kingdom. It is, therefore, very fitting that the BCCT also celebrates its 70th Anniversary this year with a Thai-UK 2016 international exhibition to celebrate Thai-UK partnership and business.
On this special occasion, I, therefore, wish to extend my best wishes to the BCCT and its members. I look forward to the continued support of the BCCT in both existing and future initiatives, and reaffirm the Royal Thai Government's commitment to dynamic partnerships between Thai and British companies.
Prayut Chan-o-cha (Ret.)
Mark Garnier MP
2016 will always be remembered for the passing of His Majesty King Bhumipol Adulyadej. It is with great sadness that I pass on my deepest condolences to the people of Thailand. His Majesty leaves an extraordinary legacy, on which current and future generations of Thais can confidently build.
I will also remember 2016 as the year in which, as the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Thailand, Burma and Brunei, I was able to re-acquaint myself with one of the most dynamic and fascinating areas of the world to do business. I was fortunate enough to visit Thailand three times during the year, once as Trade Envoy and twice in my new capacity as Minister at the UK’s Department for International Trade.
I was delighted to have the chance to meet Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Deputy Prime Minister for Economy Somkid Jatusripitak, Deputy Minister for Commerce Dr Suvit Maesincee, and other impressive economic Ministers. They gave their strong support for the new Thai-UK Business Leadership Council, which I was able to launch together with the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to the UK, General Chatchalerm Chalermsukh, and the President and CEO of PTT, Khun Tevin Vongvanich. This should prove an important forum to build new UK-Thai business partnerships, and offer practical advice to both the UK and Thai governments on how to improve the business environment. I am grateful to the BCCT for their participation in this initiative.
My re-acquaintance with Thailand underlines for me that this is a time to look forward. We find ourselves at the beginning of one of those exceptional periods when we can seize the moment to bring about a genuine step change. The Kingdom of Thailand and the United Kingdom both find themselves at moments of new opportunity. There is a natural partnership between our two countries which will help us both realise our aspirations. Enterprise and business leadership will be the driving force. Governments must support and encourage.
For Thailand, there is the aspiration of upgrading the economy to “Thailand 4.0”: to move into higher value-added manufacturing, to become the logistical hub for mainland ASEAN, to embrace greater digital and R&D-led economic activity, to equip the young people of Thailand with the right skills. These are all areas where the British have genuinely world class know-how and technology.
For the United Kingdom, we also have bold ambition. This is the time for us to forge new partnerships with our friends around the world, in particular with Thailand. Trade will be the driving force for this. South East Asia has a unique combination of growing economies together with a firm commitment to make doing business easier. Thailand sits at the heart of South East Asia. We should all promote “Opportunity Thailand” to potential British exporters.
The other part of the UK’s bold ambition is to be the leading destination for foreign investment. Many Thai-based companies are looking to spread their wings beyond Thailand, beyond ASEAN. I invite the BCCT’s Thai partners to seize “Opportunity UK”. I am confident that whatever you need to develop your business, UK businesses can provide it.
The UK has a strong, stable economy. We are home to the world’s leading financial centre. We offer a skilled labour force. British science and technology has won over 120 Nobel prizes, second only to the US. We offer the Number One tech hub in Europe. And we like to keep it fresh and innovative. The British creative sector makes up 10% of our exports.
I believe Thailand and the UK both find themselves at moments of new opportunity. There is a natural partnership between our two countries which will help us both realise our ambitions. Enterprise and business leadership will be the driving force. I know from my own meetings with BCCT members that this is in good supply. Let’s seize the opportunity.
Mark Garnier MP
H.E. Brian Davidson
It is with a heavy heart that I must write my first sentence for the BCCT as the newly arrived UK Ambassador to convey my deepest condolences to the people of Thailand at the passing of His Majesty Bhumipol Adulyadej. His Majesty’s devotion to the Thai people will always be remembered and respected in my country and around the world.
But it is His Majesty’s example and profound legacy to Thailand that allows me to look forward to the future partnership between our two countries with optimism and confidence.
Since my arrival, it is clear to me that Thailand is an important partner for UK business, and that UK business matters for Thailand. Thais value the quality of British goods and services, the integrity of British business people, and the long-term commitment of British companies to the country.
The commercial partnership between our two countries is once again going through an important phase for both of us. Thailand aspires to upgrade its economy in technology, transport, engineering, agriculture, education, the life sciences, and to do so at the same time as supporting the less well-off members of society.
UK companies offer truly world-class solutions in each of these areas. The UK offer is characterised by innovation and creativity, hand-in-hand with quality and integrity. These are all greatly prized in an ever more competitive marketplace.
Thailand’s drive to upgrade its economy comes at the same time as the UK is looking at its own commercial relationships with the world. I intend to promote the UK is an outward-looking and business-friendly economy to potential Thai investors. We are as keen as ever to welcome them to enter into partnerships with a wide range of UK organisations, from research units, to start-up funds, to platforms for export to third countries.
At the same time, I intend play my part in encouraging more UK companies to export to Thailand. I see the BCCT as an indispensable partner in this. The Business Services team is directly involved in helping new exporters to understand the Thai market and to find the right partners.
With a membership of over 600 members, the BCCT is in a unique position. The BCCT offers its members opportunities to network commercially, to learn about the latest market trends and regulatory changes, and to have off-the-record access to key decision-makers. Most of all, the BCCT helps its members to find someone who knows someone who can help.
I look forward to 2017, and to working with the BCCT and its membership, to make the most of the opportunities which lie before us.
H.E. Brian Davidson
On behalf of the Thailand Board of Investment, I would like to congratulate the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (BCCT) and its members on the publication of the 2017 Handbook.
This is an important time for Thailand on two levels. First, important progress is taking place in terms of trade and economic integration as the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), established in 2015, continues to shape. The Thai government is aggressively investing in infrastructure development with a clear understanding that this is critical to boosting the long-term prospects of the domestic economy and to the AEC's goal of establishing a single market and production base. Second, the BOI is putting in place innovative programmes and incentives targeting ten 'next - generation' industries to attract additional foreign investment and to shift the domestic economy to higher value-added services and sectors that will both transition and benefit Thailand's long-term development, for which British businesses are well-positioned to play a significant role. From January to July this year, a total of 15 British Investment projects applied for BOI promotions at a total value of 956 million baht - more than double the value from the year earlier period.
I am confident that British businesses, with the active involvement and guidance of the BCCT, will take full advantage of the strategic opportunities both in Thailand, as the country transitions to smart growth, and throughout the region with the advent of a more liberalised regional trade regime. The United Kingdom and Thailand share important and symbolic characteristics, both are constitutional monarchies with the longest and second-longest reigning monarchs in the world today. In terms of commerce, the UK is widely recognised as having an innovative and vibrant economy, with considerable strength and experience in sectors which Thailand is hoping to further develop - aerospace, pharmaceutical, oil and gas, automotive are just a few examples.
It is therefore important that the BCCT continue to contribute directly to Thailand's economic advancement. I wish to underline my strong appreciation of BCCT's important role in fostering partnerships and strengthening the commercial ties between out two nations. Last year marked BCCT's 70 year celebration, a remarkable achievement, and BCCT's heritage is deeply admired as the oldest foreign chamber in Thailand, and the oldest and largest British chamber in Asia - for which both Thailand and the UK should be proud.
Mrs. Hirunya Suchinai
The British Chambers of Commerce in London has been working closely with the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand for a number of years, helping British exporters enter the Thai market, as well as promoting UK inward investment opportunities.
Having passed BCC Accreditation in 2015, this year the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand became one of the first overseas Members of the BCC. As a key participant of the BCC’s Global Business Network, 2016 saw the BCCT working ever more closely with UK Chambers to promote Thailand as an export destination.
Thailand’s remarkable economic growth in recent decades has created opportunities for British businesses in a number of infrastructure sectors, including electrical power, telecommunications, and renewable energy. There is also demand in cosmetics, educational services, environmental technology and many more areas – which both the Chamber in Thailand and the BCC in London have been promoting through online channels, as well as events organized in the UK.
One such event, where the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand will be presenting, is the BCC Global Business Network Live (www.bccexport.co.uk), taking place on 1st November 2016 in London. On this day, the BCC will be hosting 600 exporting companies looking to take their business further afield. Delegates will hear about exporting experiences from well-known businesspeople, as well as learn about the breadth of the support that Chambers of Commerce can provide.
In fact, the BCC’s Global Business Network comprises nearly 40 Chambers in every continent, as well as 52 Chambers in the UK. With such a wide reach, it acts as an agile and reliable support system for businesses wishing to increase their international trade. On a local level, each Chamber has a diverse membership of both services and goods companies, willing to share advice and provide trusted connections.
This means that a member business of a Chamber in the UK can benefit from ‘takeoff’ services such as documentation, foreign exchange support, market seminars – as well as initial connections to Chambers all around the world. In turn, these organisations, such as the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand, can provide ‘landing’ services in-market with introductions to local partners, market entry support, overviews of cultural do’s and don’ts, and much more.
This year has certainly seen an uncertain business and political environment, both in the UK and abroad. But this does not mean that UK businesses should shy away from the many untapped opportunities around the world – particularly when help is readily available to them, both in terms of highlighting opportunities and taking advantage of them.
No one understands business needs better than other businesses, and few organisations can draw on as much commercial and practical expertise as Chambers of Commerce are able to. The BCC in London is looking forward to a collaborative and active partnership with the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand over many more years to come.
The Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Trade of Thailand wishes to join others in commending the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand for the publication of its 2017 Handbook and Directory of Members entitled "United Kingdom - Partners in Progress". The publication will serve as a valuable and useful source of reference for the promotion of trade, investment, technology transfer and innovation, as well as other mutually beneficial cooperative efforts between the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Thailand.
Owing to a long history of good relations, the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand has been working closely with Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Trade of Thailand as a valuable partner to enhance trade, investment and tourism relationships between the UK and Thailand. This has enhanced economic ties between the two countries to achieve a long-term mutual economic development and growth. The Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Trade of Thailand is reassured that the partnership we have built over many years of cooperation would be consistently sustained. Moreover, the UK and Thailand have also agreed to establish the Thai-UK Business Leadership Council, to boost cooperation between private enterprises and provide suggestions to the governments in improving the business environment and facilitating trade and investment growth for both sides. I strongly believe that our close collaboration will be enhanced.
It is a sincere pleasure for us to extend our heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand and its members on the occasion of the publication of the 2017 Handbook and Directory of Members. I am confident that the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand will continue to work actively towards further strengthening trade and business ties between our two countries for the mutual benefit of our private sectors in the years to come and look forward to fresh opportunities and cooperation in the future.
I am pleased to present the British Chamber of Commerce in Thailand 2017 Handbook and Directory of Membership. 2016 was the 70th anniversary of the BCCT and for this special occasion we held a range of activities and events throughout 2016 to celebrate this significant milestone
For 2016 financially the Chamber has achieved its budget in most of the revenue categories. This together with control of expenses we will achieve our budgeted surplus. I am particularly pleased to see continued increase in our membership.
The team is on track to achieve the KPI's set by the Board in terms of financial control and collections, membership development, quality of events. The Board greatly appreciates all the efforts of the BCCT team on behalf of our members.
BCCT Groups have continued to be active in 2016 many of which have been led by Board members and have been busy arranging events, information dissemination and activities.
The Overseas Business Network initiative (OBNi) is on track on its service deliverables.
The UK government has reduced the funding we receive. The OBNi steering group has worked on plans to mitigate this impact as well as leveraging the expertise we have to add further value to our members.
The Chamber also continues its strong relationship with The British Embassy by regular working lunches, Embassy staff attending board meetings and working on special events and roadshows such as the “Taste of Britain 2016: Food is GREAT” campaign. I would also like to welcome H.E Mr, Brian Davidson the British Ambassador who took up his post in June 2016
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the membership and the Board for their continued support in 2016.
Finally my thanks to our 2016 Sterling Partner Bangkok Patana school and our Sustaining Partners Tesco Lotus, Ophir, GlaxoSmithKline, Property Care Services, Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC, Harrow International school and Brighton college, and our Airline Partners British Airways and Etihad, as well as our supporting partners.
As the UK and Thailand move into the fifth century of relations I would like to highlight the fact that the name of the ship, sent by the Directors of the British East India Company in 1610 to the Kingdom of Siam, was called “The Globe”. In these increasingly turbulent economic times it is a fitting tribute to the openness of our nations that we continue to trade and find business opportunities with one another.
The example set by the UK adventurers setting sail bearing a letter from King James I was then matched when Thai representatives visited the Court of King Charles II in 1684.
I was therefore delighted to learn that in July senior business leaders from Thai and British companies came together as the Thai-UK Business Leadership Council. Its purpose will be to build new and innovative partnerships as well as encourage the governments of both countries to foster trade and investment. And there is plenty of business to do in ASEAN’s second largest economy, accounting for 17% of ASEAN’s GDP.
UK companies and CBI members have been active in Thailand throughout 2016 and, in some cases for more than 100 years. CBI member Huawei opened its SE Asia regional Headquarters in Bangkok in May 2016 whilst Standard Chartered celebrated its 120th anniversary in 2014.
And premium automaker Jaguar Land Rover has also established a strong presence in-country for its much sought after brands. Thailand offers opportunities for British businesses across a diverse range of sectors, including agri-business, food processing, food and drink, consumer products, advanced engineering, aerospace, services, education and skills.
And the UK is one of the leading European investors into the country with companies such as BG, Tesco, HSBC, Prudential, RBS and Clifford Chance busy expanding their Thai business. So to conclude it is good to see that the global spirit of the good ship ‘Globe’ is still alive and well in UK-Thai relations.
May I wish the British Chamber of Commerce in Thailand every success for its 2017 Annual Handbook and Directory.
On behalf of the UK-ASEAN Business Council (UKABC), I should like to congratulate the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (BCCT) on its 70th anniversary of supporting the UK-Thailand trading relationship.
As the second largest economy in ASEAN, Thailand has maintained an impressive average growth of over 4% during the past decade, and this looks set to continue. The thriving middle class reflects the rapid development in the country, fuelled by the transformation of its economy to one of the most diverse in the region. The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will further strengthen Thailand’s position as a hub of the ASEAN and Asia Pacific markets.
UK companies need to look at the diverse opportunities in Thailand. The country’s comprehensive infrastructure plans linked to the incentives being offered to attract international companies into its newly created industrial clusters including aviation, smart electronics, biofuels and next-generation cars, are key measures that ensure Thailand is open for business.
The UK-Thailand relationship has been further strengthened this year with the creation of the Thai-UK Business Leadership Council, which aims to foster trade and investment between the two countries. Exciting partnerships and initiatives are expected to flow from this initiative.
The UKABC sits at the heart of the UK-Southeast Asia economic relationship. It aims to raise UK companies’ awareness of the region’s potential and to encourage them to trade with and invest in this dynamic market. The UKABC is committed to providing in-depth information and supporting resources to smooth market entry and expansion in ASEAN. BCCT as our strategic partner in Thailand plays an invaluable role by assisting UK companies on the ground and guiding them on how to win business in this key market.
The UKABC looks forward to continuing its close ties with BCCT to improve the business connectivity between UK and Thailand by encouraging more UK businesses to explore and invest in Thailand’s tremendous economic potential.
We wish the BCCT every success in this, its 70th anniversary year.
Mr. Kevan Watts