Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin to meet Hong Kong leader John Lee during 3-day trip to city

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin will meet Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu during a three-day visit to Hong Kong starting Sunday, with one analyst saying the trip shows the city’s importance as a regional hub for investment.

The city government on Friday said Thavisin would meet Lee at Government House on the second day of his visit. The announcement comes as the chief executive has sought to expand Hong Kong’s role in Southeast Asia, as a slew of new agreements have been signed with other countries this year.

Gary Ng Cheuk-yan, a senior economist for Asia-Pacific at Natixis Corporate and Investment Bank, said the visit showed the city remained a “crucial hub” for channelling investment into and out of mainland China, and the bilateral opportunities yet to be tapped between the two places.

John Lee met Thavisin’s predecessor, Prayuth Chan-ocha, during his first overseas visit last November. Photo: Edmond So

“The visit shows there can be more areas of cooperation, such as technology innovation, tourism and green-related sectors and financing,” he said.

Hong Kong was the fourth largest investor into Thailand in 2022, with foreign direct investment amounting to nearly US$550 million. That same year, bilateral trade also reached just under US$20 billion.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara will give a keynote speech at the Hong Kong-Asean Summit 2023 organised by the Post on Monday.

In July, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Algernon Yau Ying-wah flew to Bangkok for a business summit hosted by the Hong Kong Trade and Development Council.

Hong Kong leader seeks business deals on Asean trip, support for trade pact bid

Yau reportedly met Thai business leaders and touted the city’s advantages as a “sound destination” for companies seeking access to the mainland under the “one country, two systems” governing principle.

Chief Executive Lee met Thavisin’s predecessor, Prayuth Chan-ocha, during his first overseas visit last November to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum hosted in Bangkok.

During that meeting, Lee expressed his wish for a boost in bilateral relations and exchanges between the two jurisdictions, and also appealed for Thailand’s support on the city’s early accession to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the world’s largest free-trade deal.

Hong Kong and Singapore sign 7 bilateral deals during John Lee’s visit

This past summer, Lee embarked on a week-long tour to shore up relations and expand business ties with Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia that resulted in the signing of 33 memorandums of understanding across the three countries.

The city leader earlier said the 10-member Association of Southeast Nations, which includes Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, would become one of the biggest economic engines globally.

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