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Britain’s Duke of York to discuss trade, investment with Thai Deputy PM

MCOT News, Thailand

Britain’s Duke of York to discuss trade, investment with Thai Deputy PM

8 June 2006

BANGKOK, June 8 (TNA) - His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, Britain’s Duke of York, will discuss trade and investment with Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Somkid Jatusripitak here Thursday with an aim to strengthen bilateral trade ties between the United Kingdom and Thailand.

Prince Andrew, who is a special UK representative for international trade and investment, arrived at Bangkok Military Airport on Wednesday, the first of the royal guests for the celebrations marking His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 60th anniversary of his accession to the throne.

High on the agenda are the bilateral trade promotion which Thailand will raise at the talks, while Britain is expected to raise the issue of Thailand’s import ban on British beef—to prevent the spread of mad cow disease.

British beef exporters are concerned about Thailand’s new regulation on foreign beef imports, put in place early this year, which has impacted their businesses, according to a source at the Commerce Ministry.

Other issues on the agenda include free trade negotiations and Thailand’s mass transit infrastructure projects—the so-called megaprojects—in which Britain is interested.

The Commerce Ministry said that two-way trade between January-April this year reached US$1.415 billion (some 762.3 million British pounds or about Bt54.4 billion), while export value in the same period stood at US$988 million (some 532.3 million British pounds or about Bt40 billion). Thailand enjoyed the surplus.

Apiradi Tantraporn, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department said Thailand would seek cooperation from other major British department stores and supermarkets to import and distribute more Thai products through their networks in Britain after Tesco, Britain’s giant retail supermarket chain, agreed earlier to distribute Thai merchandised goods through its worldwide outlets. (TNA)-E001