Thai-Australian strategic partnership will be focused upon during the official visit of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to Australia as guest of the Australian government from 26 to 29 May 2012.
The four-day visit is part of the activities to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Thailand and Australia.
It also aims to expand bilateral cooperation, especially in trade, investment in energy, food safety and security, and science and technology. The Prime Minister is accompanied by Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, Education Minister Suchart Thada-Thamrongvech, Industry Minister Pongsvas Svasti, and a group of Thai business executives.
She will meet Ms. Quentin Bryce, Governor-General of Australia, and hold talks with Ms. Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia, on various issues, including ASEAN and the East Asia Summit. Both Thai and Australian Prime Ministers will witness the signing of two memorandums of understanding: MOU on Cooperation in Education and Training and MOU on Young Political Leaders’ Exchange Program. Thailand is interested in enhancing cooperation with Australia in education personnel development, especially in language teaching and learning. There are currently more than 20,000 Thai students in Australia.
Thai business executives joining this trip are from PTTEP, Baan Pu, Ratchaburi Electricity Generating, Loxley, Mitr Phol, CP Group, Surapon Foods, and Central Group, as well as the Federation of Thai Industries and the Board of Trade of Thailand. They will meet their Australian counterparts and explore their business opportunities.
Prime Minister Yingluck will also meet Australian corporate leaders from major industries, including Bluescope Steel, Kingsgate (Mining), Australia-New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ), and other leading companies in the auto parts industry. She will give a speech at a dinner during the event “Thai Night with the Prime Minister” at the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney on May 28.
The visit to Australia by Prime Minister Yingluck symbolizes the strengthening of relations at the leaders level. The last visit to Australia by a Thai Prime Minister was in 2004 to sign the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement. The FTA came into force in January 2005, and since then, trade between the two countries has increased steadily. Thailand is now Australia’s ninth-largest trading partner.
Prime Minister Yingluck will take this opportunity to visit the Thai community in Australia to listen to their views and problems, especially in operating Thai restaurants there. This will foster the Government’s policy of “Thai Kitchen to the World” and push for the expansion of Thai food and service industries overseas.