U.S. Business Celebrates 180 Years of US-Thai Friendship
(Bangkok) A delegation of Senior Executives from 30 leading U.S. companies organized by the US-ASEAN Business Council concluded a business mission to Thailand today. The mission celebrated 180 years of U.S. Thai Diplomatic relations while focusing on building further economic ties. The delegation was co-led by Khun Pairoj Kaweeyanun, President Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production, and Alexander Feldman, President of the US-ASEAN Business Council.
The US-Thailand Treaty of Amity and Commerce of 1833 was the first U.S. diplomatic agreement in Asia, and business has been part of that relationship from the beginning.
“The size and diversity of our delegation, one of the largest the Council has brought to Thailand, signifies the commitment and confidence that American companies have in the fundamentals of the Thai market and economy,” said Khun Pairoj.
“The Treaty of Amity and Commerce signed between the United States and Thailand 180 years ago recognized the importance of commerce as the cornerstone in the bilateral relationship,” said Alexander Feldman. “With U.S.-Thai bilateral goods trade at an all-time high of U.S.$ 37 billion in 2012, the role of business in the U.S.-Thai friendship has never been more important.”
“Thailand’s ability to play a leadership role in driving regional economic integration efforts is incredibly important as ASEAN nations gear up to implement the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015,” continued Feldman. “With over U.S.$ 150 billion in cumulative investment in the region, American companies have a vested interest in a successful ASEAN Economic Community.”
The companies on the mission expressed appreciation for the Royal Thai government’s engagement of key stakeholders in the economic relationship. The two sides discussed both specific additional investment opportunities for current investors as well as new investments. The Council hopes to see increased American investments in the coming months.
The Council offered support for the Prime Minister’s priorities around improved health care, education and the investment environment. Further, they offered to work with the Prime Minister on increasing energy supply alternatives as well as integrating technology into various sectors of the Thai Economy. To this end, the Council hopes that Thailand will work with the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office to take advantage of the Enhanced Economic Engagement (E3) initiative outlined by U.S President Barack Obama in November 2012 during his vist to Cambodia around investment, trade facilitation and the digital economy.
The delegation met with officials including Prime Minister of Thailand H.E. Yingluck Shinawatra, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Dr. Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance H.E. Kittiratt Na Ranong, Minister of Commerce H.E. Boonsong Teriyapirom, Minister of Industry H.E. Prasert Boonchaisuk, Minister of Transportation H.E. Chadchart Sittipunt, Minister of Public Health H.E. Pradit Sintavanarong, Minister of Energy H.E. Pongsak Ruktapongpisal, H.E. Dr. Prasarn Trairatvorakul Governor of the Bank of Thailand, and representatives from the Ministry of ICT and the Board of Investment (BOI) Thailand. The delegation was accompanied by the U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, the Honorable Kristie A. Kenney, and the Thai Ambassador to the U.S., H.E. Chaiyong Satjipanon.
Companies on the delegation included ACE, AIG, Cargill, Caterpillar, Chevron, the Coca-Cola Company, ConocoPhillips, Dow Chemical Company, eBay, Eli Lilly, FedEx Express, Ford Motor Company, GE, General Motors, Google, GlaxoSmithKline, Guardian Industries, HP, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, MasterCard Worldwide, MSD/Merck, Microsoft, Oracle, Pfizer, Philip Morris, Qualcomm, TE Connectivity, Time Warner, and Visa.