Today’s meeting between the PM and American Ambassador say Thai sources could lead to a more ‘proactive’ trading relationship. General Prayuth revealed that he had received personal support and encouragement during this crisis from US First Lady Melania Trump. In 2019, the US emerged as Thailand’s leading export market while the kingdom is also a significant market for American exporters. A new trade relationship would be a great boost to Thailand’s economic efforts as the country looks to revive the kingdom’s battered commercial prospects after the virus is contained in the third quarter.

As both Thailand and the United States wrestle with the coronavirus, a visit on Wednesday by the new American Ambassador Michael DeSombre to Government House may signal a more positive economic relationship between the two countries which have been allies for nearly two centuries. Thai sources are talking about negotiations towards a new, more ‘proactive’ trade relationship between the kingdom and its largest export market.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan ocha meets US Ambassador Michael De Sombre at Government House on Wednesday. Thai government sources are suggesting that negotiations for a more ‘proactive’ trade relationship between Thailand and its largest export market may be in the pipeline.

As Thailand fights the coronavirus crisis in its midst, the government is also turning its eyes towards the kingdom’s economic future after the crisis which is expected to abate sometime in the second quarter of the year.

Yesterday, the cabinet is reported to have agreed a ฿9 trillion stimulus package.

Part of this was outlined earlier on Wednesday by the Governor of the Bank of Thailand, Veerathai Santiprabhob, who identified ฿400 billion to support the vital corporate bond market which helps fund Thai firms and ฿500 billion in soft loans for SMEs.

New US Ambassador meets PM at Government House in a meeting which heralds stronger trade ties

This week, however, comes news that Thailand has commenced negotiations with the United States to develop a renewed trading relationship with one of its oldest allies.

On Wednesday, the Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan ocha took time from directing the Covid 19 administration centre to meet with the new American ambassador to Thailand Michael De Sombre.

US is now Thailand’s largest export market

In 2019, the United States was Thailand’s largest export market accounting for 12.8% of the country’s exports valued at over ฿1 trillion. 

Significantly, Thailand, which is the world’s 20th largest economy, was the 26th biggest export market for American firms.

US Ambassador was previously a well practised commercial lawyer in the Asia Pacific region

Mr De Sombre’s background is one of extensive experience of commercial dealing in the Asia Pacific region.

He worked as a senior partner for a top law firm based in Hong Kong before his appointment last year as ambassador to Thailand by US President Donald Trump and his confirmation by the US Senate in January. 

US envoy praised Thailand’s virus response

Today’s visit by Mr De Sombre was an initial introduction during which the US ambassador praised Thailand’s response to the current crisis and promised the continued support of the US government towards that end.

The US envoy was keen to stress his determination to further and strengthen the US Thai economic partnership after the virus emergency abates.

Prime minister thanked the US for protective clothing for Thai medics and revealed a personal message of support from the US First Lady Melania Trump

The prime minister thanked the ambassador for US supplies of protective clothing for Thailand’s medics during the crisis and sent his warmest regards to US President Donald Trump and the US First Lady, Melania Trump. 

General Prayuth revealed that Mrs Trump had offered her personal support to him in recent times as Thailand declared a state of emergency and the government leader took the helm of the Covid 19 response centre.

‘Proactive’ US Thai trade relationship could be crucial to economic regeneration efforts

Both the ambassador and the PM said they looked forward to a new more ‘proactive’ engagement in trade and commerce between the two countries which Thai sources say could be pivotal in the country’s efforts to raise the economy in the aftermath of the economic devastation brought on by the virus.

Further reading:

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Thailand faces a third shock after the virus if high debt and the informal economy are not prioritised

MPs warned of an economic colony as opposition zeroed in on Thailand’s impaired relationship with China

US China trade war may have some silver lining or upside for Thailand if firms can be agile and adjust

US suspension of Thai preferential trade partner status part of Trump’s ongoing trade war