CHIANGRAI TIMES – Prince Andrew the Duke of York of the United Kingdom urged Thai businesspeople to invest more in British industries in a discussion with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Thursday as the two countries aim to boost bilateral trade and investment.
Prince Andrew hailed progress in Thailand, both in political stability and economic development, and expressed confidence that Thailand will play a vital role in the regional and international level.
During the meeting at Government House, Prince Andrew urged the Thai business community to invest more in the UK in many industries such as the steel production and mining sectors.
The prince noted that the planned ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015 will boost the competitiveness of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with other regions.
Ms Yingluck said she welcomed the Duke of York’s advice that Thai investors should invest more in the UK and bolster trade and investment partnership between the two countries.
The Thai premier also briefed him about the latest situation in Thailand that the country is in the process to build national reconciliation and narrow the wealth gap among people.
Early Thursday, the Duke of York granted an audience to Thailand’s foreign and commerce ministers for talks on investment.
Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said after the meeting that he told the Prince about Myanmar’s readiness to chair ASEAN next year and the improved relationship between Thailand and Cambodia.
Regarding the relationship between the two countries, the minister said the UK viewed that the law relating to foreigners in Thailand is an obstacle to investment, in particular that concerning education. He suggested that the law, if amended, would encourage more investment in Thailand by UK universities.
After Thailand faced a devastating flood last year, Mr Surapong also told the Prince that financial executive decrees will support the implementation of water management plans to build confidence among investors.
Touching on the country’s tourism, the minister asked for support from the UK to help promote Thailand tourism after the number of Russian tourists ranked top for tourist arrivals to Thailand, overtaking the number of tourist arrivals from the UK.
Prince Andrew also inquired about the Thai government’s stability, Mr Surapong said, adding that he explained the situation is improving after years of political conflict caused Thailand to lose trade opportunities. The current government is determined to finish its four-year term to develop a full-fledged democracy.
The Duke of York, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, began visiting Thailand as a guest of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Tuesday and will leave on Saturday.
His visit is aimed at strengthening royal ties and promoting trade partnership and investment between the two countries.
Their Majesties the King and Queen granted Prince Andrew an audience on Wednesday to present a message from Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of King Bhumibol’s 84th birthday.