General Prayuth Chan-ocha
I am particulary delighted to extend my congratulations to the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (BCCT) on its successes this year, given my recent trip to the United Kingdom in June 2018.
As the BCCT is well aware, this visit to London opened up many opportunities for our two countries to develop a more dynamic trade and investment relationship, especially as Thailand and the United Kingdom are set to take on new challenges at the regional and global levels. To this end, it is essential for our two nations to take advantage of our longstanding relations to forge a stronger partnership that will benefit our economies and societies in a highly competitive and interconnected global economy. Therefore, the publication of the BCCT’s 2019 Handbook and Directory entitled “United Kingdoms -Partners in Progress” has the potential to set the tone for this new momentum of collaboration, and put in place a new chapter of commercial relations between Thailand and the United Kingdom.
Thailand and the United Kingdom share a rich history of friendship, understanding, and cultural affinity. For over 500 years, our two nations have nurtured strong bonds in education, economic development, commerce, and international cooperation. Now, as Thailand is looking forward to the Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2019, and as the United Kingdom moves forward with the Global Britain vision, there is much to be done to hamess our cooperation on global issues, benefit from mutual investment, complement our cutting-edge industries, and develop a greater exchange of ideas between our societies.
With this outlook in mind, I wish to reiterate my continued support for the BCCT and the vital role it plays in the unique friendship between Thailand and the United Kingdom. On this occasion, I take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to the BCCT and all of its members.
Prayut Chan-o-cha (Ret.)
The Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP
In March of 2019, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. Although we are leaving the EU, we will continue to be close trading partners, whilst also having the ability to negotiate our own trade policy with new friends around the world. This is an exciting time for the UK, and I know that Brexit will bring many new export opportunities for British companies: in countries that they had perhaps previously not considered.
When I visited Thailand in April, I agreed with the Thai government that we should carry out a trade review, the results of which will serve as the basis for negotiating our future trading partnership. The review will commence shortly, and in future, I hope that we will be in a position to negotiate a more balanced trade partnership between our countries. As Secretary of State I want to ensure that our partnership is one of equals, where British companies can compete on the same terms that Thai companies enjoy in the UK.
I was impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit and enthusiasm from members of the British Chamber of Commerce in Thailand during my recent visit, and I know that you will all cease the great opportunities that our new independent trading status will bring.
The Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP
H.E. Brian Davidson
This will be a momentous year for the British Embassy in Thailand. At the end of 2019, we will be vacating our Wireless Road site for the last time and moving to our new Embassy in Sathorn. Over the last few months it was a great pleasure to see the Ploenchit Fair return to its original home and to see thousands of people pass through the gates. Our final remembrance service was held at the Embassy, before the cenotaph is carefully moved to its new home in the British Club. I know that so many of you have a strong connection to the Embassy and the Residence, but I want to reassure you that we are engaging with Thailand in a more vigorous way than ever before. Our commercial and political relationships are strong and the entire Embassy team is focused on promoting and protecting British interests, be they consular or related to our prosperity relationship. My teams continue to find innovative ways to keep our 1 million British visitors a year safe and to find new opportunities for British companies in Thailand. All of our work is underpinned by our values of respect for human rights and democracy. As ever, we owe a vote of thanks to the British Chamber, its leadership and members for their support for British prosperity and we wish you all even greater success in 2019.
H.E. Brian Davidson
On behalf of Thailand Board of Investment (BOI), I am very pleased to extend my congratulations to the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (BCCT) for the publication of its 2019 Handbook and Directory of Members entitled “United Kingdoms – Partners in Progress”. This publication clearly shows references for our closed relationship and mutually beneficial co-operative efforts between the BCCT and the BOI.
Over past 2 years, Thailand has been making good progress towards the Thailand 4.0 policy, an economic model which aims to push Thailand forward to a new chapter where science, technology, R&D activities and innovation are the central forces driving economic growth. The government is implementing extensive policies to support the model and also investing a large amount of money to enhance our infrastructure. A significant percentage of it will support the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) in order to make this government’s flagship project ready to become a new growth hub of this region, not only Thailand.
As part of the efforts in attracting foreign talents and technologies, the SMART Visa program was introduced in February 2018. The special visa will facilitate the entry and sojourn of foreign experts, executives, investors, and startups in the targeted industries.
With a view to achieving “Thailand 4.0”, we look forward to strengthening economic partnership with the UK and hope that UK companies will be taking part in this development. The official visit of Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to the UK in June 2018 reflects our strong commitment to enhance cooperation between two nations.
We, at the BOI, are very grateful for the BCCT’s continued support and look forward to the further cooperation with the BCCT.
72 years ago when the BCCT was formed, things were very different. Over that period membership has grown significantly and the chamber has changed beyond all recognition. It raises for me the clear challenge for the Chamber (and indeed for all businesses) of staying up to date and, where possible, ahead of the business trends. In the last 72 years, there have been significant developments. Fax machines came (and went) telephones became mobile and then increasing became much more than just a device for verbal communication. Electric typewriters came to replace mechanical ones and in their turn were replaced by computers and word processing. Technological advancements expanded what computers could do and they increasingly came in all shapes and sizes. In just about every facet of modern life now, there are banks of computers performing different functions.
Now fast forward for another 72 years and try to predict what advances there will have been between now and 2091. Technology will have embedded artificial intelligence (AI) throughout our lives in so many ways. Businesses will change and develop to introduce new ways of working and new types of businesses. Most of this is mainly beyond accurate prediction but it will happen – indeed it is happening now. The BCCT of 2091 will be a very different beast. So how do we prepare for this?
We can’t do anything more than be in a state of ever-changing and expanding to keep up with new capabilities available to us. This requires forward thinking, sensible investment and open minds. For example, we are currently looking at the new capabilities of modern membership systems to enable us to better serve you, the members.
Financially the task of the Board, the Officers and myself, along with Greg Watkins, our Executive Director and Jonathan Fryer, our Treasurer is to keep the chamber stable and living within its means. Currently, the chamber’s finances show a growing trend to spend beyond our income – something that will have to be dealt with over the next few years. There is no magic formula and hard decisions will have to be taken.
In all that we do, our first priority is you the member. If we don’t provide you with the service you need (whatever that may be) we will lose our competitive edge and find maintaining or increasing membership almost impossible.
Finally, I would like to thank all of the chamber teams who work so hard to achieve what our members need. Perfection is not achievable but that doesn’t stop them from trying. Without our partners who sponsor the chamber in so many different ways (they are listed below) the chamber would be the poorer. Thanks go to them. Lastly, I would like to thank Greg (our ED), the Officers and Board and our Treasurer Jonathan Fryer.
I hope this 2019 edition of the Handbook and Directory proves useful to you.