CE visits Thailand to attend opening of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Bangkok (with photos/videos)

     The Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, in Bangkok, Thailand, today (February 28), officiated at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Bangkok (Bangkok ETO), met with the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, and attended a business seminar as well as the opening ceremony of cultural collaboration activities between Hong Kong and Thailand.

     Mrs Lam, accompanied by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, attended the opening ceremony of the Bangkok ETO in the afternoon, with the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, Dr Somkid Jatusripitak, invited as the officiating guest. The Convenor of the Non-official Members of the Executive Council, Mr Bernard Chan, and a number of people from various sectors in Hong Kong also went to Bangkok to join the ceremony. In her speech, Mrs Lam expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the Thailand Government for its support, making it possible for the Bangkok ETO to commence operation just 17 months after she announced the plan in her maiden Policy Address in October 2017. She said she hopes that the Bangkok ETO will play the role of "facilitator", connecting businesses and organisations between Hong Kong and Thailand and fostering co-operation.

     In the morning, Mrs Lam and the other officials met with the Prime Minister of Thailand, Mr Prayut Chan-o-cha. Mrs Lam said that Thailand is an important partner of Hong Kong and that it was her third visit to the country since taking office. She also met with Mr Prayut at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting earlier. She said such frequent contacts are a testimony of the importance attached to the bilateral relations by both sides. Noting that the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Hong Kong and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the related Investment Agreement were signed in late 2017, Mrs Lam thanked the Thailand Government for the co-ordination role it took throughout the negotiations, as well as its timely ratification of the FTA and its effort to encourage other ASEAN member states to expedite their ratification process. She expressed the hope that Thailand will continue to support the early implementation of the FTA to further enhance trade and economic ties between Hong Kong, Thailand and ASEAN. She said she looks forward to strengthening collaboration between Hong Kong and Thailand in different areas, including travel, culture, education, innovation and the creative industries. Mrs Lam also met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Don Pramudwinai, to exchange views on collaboration between the two places.
     In the morning, Mrs Lam attended a business seminar co-hosted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and the Ministry of Commerce of Thailand at which she briefed some 1,000 participants on the latest situation of Hong Kong and the areas in which collaboration with Thailand can be enhanced. At the seminar, Mrs Lam and Dr Somkid witnessed the signing of four Memorandums of Understanding between Cyberport, the HKTDC and a Hong Kong company with the Thailand Board of Investment and InnoSpace Thailand to promote co-operation of start-ups and incubation services in the two places. Addressing the seminar, Mrs Lam spoke on the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area promulgated just 10 days ago, adding that Hong Kong will play a key role in the initiative, especially in the development of an international innovation and technology (I&T) hub in the Greater Bay Area with Hong Kong's advantages. She encouraged Thailand to work with Hong Kong to promote the development of I&T and start-ups.

     At noon, Mrs Lam and the other officials had lunch with Dr Somkid and a number of members of the business sector in Thailand. She briefed them on Hong Kong's latest developments and encouraged the enterprises to leverage Hong Kong's advantages as an international financial, transportation and trade centre to explore together the markets along the Belt and Road and in the Mainland.
     Mrs Lam and the other officials also officiated at the opening ceremony of a year-long collaboration between Zuni Icosahedron and the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre in the afternoon. Speaking at the ceremony, Mrs Lam said that Zuni Icosahedron is one of Hong Kong's major performing arts groups while the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre is an impressive local centre for contemporary arts and culture, and that the collaboration between them demonstrates the close cultural ties between both places. She added that Hong Kong's arts and culture scene is blooming and said she believes that there is much room for enhancing exchange and co-operation between the two places.
     On arrival in Bangkok yesterday afternoon (February 27), Mrs Lam and the other officials met with representatives of Hong Kong organisations to learn about their work and lives in Thailand and attended a dinner hosted by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to the Kingdom of Thailand, Mr Lyu Jian, at which Mrs Lam expressed her gratitude to Mr Lyu for his support for the multifaceted exchanges between Hong Kong and Thailand, and the consular assistance provided to Hong Kong people in need.
     Mrs Lam departed Bangkok this evening for Beijing to attend the second plenary meeting of the Leading Group for the Development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the opening ceremony of the National People's Congress.

Ends/Thursday, February 28, 2019
Issued at HKT 19:22