November 29 2019The Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, today called on the Prime Minister of Thailand, Mr Prayut Chan-o-cha, and led a delegation to attend a high-level meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, Dr Somkid Jatusripitak, to discuss collaboration between Hong Kong and Thailand in various areas. She also signed, on behalf of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government of Thailand on strengthening economic relations.

Mrs Lam, accompanied by the Convenor of the Non-official Members of the Executive Council, Mr Bernard Chan; Member of the Executive Council and Chairman of the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited Mrs Laura Cha; and the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, met Mr Prayut. She said the visit to Thailand was fruitful, with detailed discussion between both sides on co-operation in various areas and the signing of an MoU to strengthen economic relations. She expressed gratitude to the Government of Thailand for its support, forging closer ties between the two places. She said she believed that the two places will open up groundbreaking co-operation in such areas as finance, creative industries and youth exchanges down the road.

Mrs Lam, Mr Chan, Mrs Cha and some of the Hong Kong delegation members, including the Chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Dr Peter Lam, attended a high-level meeting with a Thai delegation led by Dr Somkid this morning. After the meeting, Mrs Lam and Dr Somkid, representing the Governments of the two places, signed the MoU on strengthening economic relations. The MoU covers a wide range of co-operation areas including trade and investment, enterprise partnerships, creative industries, financial services, technology start-ups and enterprises, and human resource development.

On bilateral trade co-operation, both sides agreed to broaden and deepen commitments in trade and investment liberalisation. Exploratory talks on negotiating a Hong Kong, China-Thailand Free Trade Agreement will commence with a view to establishing the work plan for negotiations by 2021, and the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement signed in 2005 will be reviewed and upgraded.

Fully leveraging Hong Kong as a platform and key link for the Belt and Road Initiative and Thailand as a valuable economic and trading partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), both sides agreed to organise more business and professional missions from Hong Kong to Thailand and more thematic exchanges with business matching sessions to encourage enterprises from both places to explore opportunities for collaboration and foster closer partnership and networks. The Thai Government will also explore the possibility of providing and extending facilitation and encouragement measures for Hong Kong enterprises interested in investing in Thailand, including incentives such as tax incentives, non-tax facilitation, updated and useful information on investment opportunities, market intelligence, and hands-on support for companies and projects. Both sides will also facilitate the establishment of regional headquarters or regional operations of enterprises respectively in Hong Kong and Thailand.

On co-operation in creative industries, both sides will promote further development of these industries through exchanges, cross-disciplinary collaboration and international network building in areas such as advertising, architecture, design, digital entertainment, film, music, television, printing and publishing, and more. The two sides will also arrange for delegations of the relevant sectors to participate in each other’s local and international exhibitions, festivals, competitions, forums, study tours and internship opportunities.

Capitalising on Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre and Thailand’s prominent role in the capital markets in ASEAN, the two sides will explore closer mutual collaboration for the benefit of the capital market industries, such as co-operation on market data connection and cross-border financial products. Mutual recognition of mutually acceptable securities (such as collective investment schemes), and collaboration opportunities in green and sustainable finance, including the development of green financial and investment products, will also be explored with a view to enriching the types of financial products offered and deepening the mutual access between the two financial markets.

On co-operation in technology start-ups and enterprise exchange, the two sides agreed to facilitate the networking and information sharing of relevant stakeholders and the internationalisation efforts of technology start-ups and enterprises in the respective markets, and explore collaboration in joint research and studies as well as exchanges of best practices. Various measures to facilitate the setting up and operation of technology start-ups and enterprises will also be implemented.

Noting that human resource development is a very important component in economic development, both sides agreed to enhance co-operation in the provision of education and training, particularly in the areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), digital literacy, international trade and commerce, agro-industry and language training at the post-secondary level; in metro and railway operations; and in disaster rescue. Collaborative research activities and teaching-learning networking through exchange programmes among youths, teachers and researchers will also be promoted.

At the signing ceremony, Mrs Lam and Dr Somkid also witnessed the signing of five other MoUs on strengthening co-operation in specific areas between various agencies from the two sides. These MoUs cover domains such as design and creative industries, trade and investment, and innovation and technology. The signatories of the five MoUs include:

– the Hong Kong Design Centre and the Creative Economy Agency (Thailand);
– the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Creative Economy Agency (Thailand);
– the Federation of Hong Kong Industries and the Federation of Thai Industries;
– the Federation of Hong Kong Industries and the Board of Investment of Thailand; and
– the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation and the National Science and Technology Development Agency (Thailand).

After arriving in Bangkok yesterday (November 28), Mrs Lam, Mr Chan, Mrs Cha, Mr Yau and Dr Lam attended a dinner hosted by the HKSAR Government for the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of Thailand, Mr Lyu Jian.