Keynote Speech by Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand at the Annual Reception of the German Association for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (BVMW) on Wednesday 13 March 2024

Keynote Speech by Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand at the Annual Reception of the German Association for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (BVMW) on Wednesday 13 March 2024

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Keynote Speech

by H.E. Mr. Srettha Thavisin

Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand

at the Annual Reception of the German Association for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (BVMW)

Wednesday 13 March 2024 at 10.30 hrs. in Berlin, Germany

 

Mr. Christoph Ahlhaus, President of BVMW,

Distinguished Guests,

  • I would like to thank BVMW for the invitation to speak at your Annual Reception this evening.
  • It is well known that German SMEs are the backbone of the German economy. Therefore, Thai-German economic relations, to a great extent, are all about collaboration with German SMEs.
  • I am here, today, to assure you that German SMEs have a big future in Thailand.
  • Last month, my Government launched the “IGNITE THAILAND” vision, outlining a roadmap for Thailand to become the hub in 8 major sectors, namely tourism, healthcare and wellness, agriculture and food, aviation, logistics, future mobility, digital economy, and finance.
  • This vision will cement a strong foundation for a big future for German SMEs in Thailand.
  • First, Thailand has one of the most ambitious green transition goals in Southeast Asia, as well as one of the most concrete plans to achieve them.
  • For German SMEs, vast opportunities lie in green mobility. Thailand aspires to be the hub for all future mobility, especially for the whole supply chain of the EV industry.
  • The Thai Government has issued a series of market-led measures to boost the demand for electric vehicles. We will provide further incentives for businesses to change their commercial transport fleet to electric. This, in turn, will further provide opportunities for German SMEs in related industries. These range from production of automobile parts, to charging stations and battery recycling.
  • We will also need green hydrogen for long-distance transport, such as trucks, buses, ships and planes. Green hydrogen production will enable us to “green” heavy industries in Thailand, including cement, chemical and food-processing industries. We are eager and ready to work with German SMEs on hydrogen and other related industries.
  • As for electricity production, we will increase the ratio of renewable energy in our energy production to 50 percent by 2040. Our Utility Green Tariff Scheme will ensure that the energy used by German investors in Thailand comes from renewable sources.
  • As I discussed with President Steinmeier and his business delegation during their visit to Thailand in January, Thailand aspires to be the green factory of the world.

Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

  • Secondly, on REGIONAL CONNECTIVITY.
  • With Thailand’s strategic location, my government prioritizes projects aimed at improving the country’s connectivity and infrastructure.
  • Our flagship mega project, Thailand’s Landbridge Project connecting the Indian and Pacific Oceans, is underway. The Landbridge will help reduce maritime transportation time between the two oceans and ensure the seamless flow of goods and services.
  • Thailand is also poised to become the aviation hub for both passengers and goods. We are planning to build new airports both in the northern and southern region of the country, as well as upgrade airports in both major and lesser-visited cities.
  • We will enhance our digital capacity to become the digital economy hub in the region. Thailand is proud of our extensive 5G-internet coverage and strong digital infrastructure, which have attracted talented digital nomads from all over the world.
  • To top all these, I wish to extend my invitation to the management of BVMW to set up a representative office in Thailand to realize our untapped potential in connection with the Indo-Pacific for German SMEs.
  • Next, is our OPENESS for business.
  • To enable free and fair trade with German SMEs, we are negotiating a Thai-EU FTA and aiming for its conclusion by 2025.
  • The Thai-EU FTA is a game changer which will increase the EU’s exports to Thailand by over 40% and expand Thailand’s exports to the EU by over 25%. Moreover, the Thai-EU FTA will enhance relevant standards in Thailand, which, in turn, will bring about a more attractive environment for investments from EU countries.
  • We are also open for business people, providing visa exemption and e-visa schemes. Business visits to Thailand are just a few clicks away.
  • As most of you will agree, Thailand is a tourism hub of the world. Last year, we were pleased to welcome more than 700,000 German tourists, the largest number in the EU. Conversely, we hope that Thai nationals will be able to visit Germany and the EU more easily in the future, as we seek support from the European Union to grant visa-free short-term stays for Thai passport holders.
  • Next is our SUSTAINABILITY policy.
  • With our aspiration to become the agricultural and food hub of the world, Thailand places particular emphasis on sustainable agriculture to ensure food security and sustainability. The green transition of Thai agriculture also provides ample opportunities for German businesses that provide related technologies.
  • Sustainability is also about human rights, accountability, and equality. We are proud to be the first country in the Asia-Pacific to develop and adopt a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights. We also seek to work with German businesses, in compliance with Germany’s Supply Chain Due Diligence Act, to accelerate global action for sustainable development, human rights, and environmental, social and governance.
  • Lastly, it is the STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP between Thailand and Germany. This provides a platform for discussions between our two countries on how to create new opportunities for Thai and German businesses.
  • To sum up, these are the main areas that I believe are key to re-igniting the potential of Thai-German cooperation, through green transition, regional connectivity, open economy, sustainability, and strategic partnership.

Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

  • Let me conclude by reiterating once again that German SMEs have a big future in Thailand. I hope that, after listening to my remarks, you agree with me.
  • Thank you very much.