On 20 June 2018, H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, met with the Honorable Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Both sides agreed on strengthening bilateral relations and strategic partnership especially in economic and regional cooperation and global issues of mutual interest.
The UK sees the visit as an opportunity for trade and investment in Thailand’s EEC project. In this connection, the UK increased funding of the UK Export Finance (UKEF) worth 4.5 billion pounds to support investments of the UK private sectors and SMEs in all areas of the EEC project. The UK also increased funding to Newton Fund, a research and development fund given to Thailand, to 4 million pounds per year, an increase from 20 million pounds or 1,000 million baht within the next 5 years.
The Prime Minister of Thailand welcomed the UK’s interest to expand investments in Thailand’s EEC project and thanked the UK’s support in human resources development in science and technology under the Newton Fund which corresponds to Thailand 4.0 policy. The two sides agreed to review trade and investment barrier between the two countries as well as enhancing economic relations after the Brexit. Moreover, the two sides agreed to support the Thai-UK Business Leadership Council as a mechanism to further strengthen economic relations.
The Prime Minister of Thailand not only invited the UK to become Thailand’s economic partner in the country, but also in the region by taking advantage of the seamless connectivity in mainland Southeast Asia with Thailand at the centre. The Prime Minister also invited the UK to become development partners, particularly in ACMECS and Thailand+1 policy. Thailand expressed support to the UK’s constructive role within the ASEAN framework when Thailand assumes ASEAN Chairmanship in 2019.
Both sides exchanged views on a number of global issues. Thailand stands ready to partner with the UK in combating human trafficking and illegal wildlife trade. Furthermore, both sides sought cooperation in combating extremism, the use of chemical weapons as well as maintaining regional stability.
The Prime Minister of the UK commended on developments in Thailand’s political situation which moves forward according to the Roadmap to election and believed that Thailand’s reforms will lead to progress in the country.