His Excellency Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai, Foreign Minister of Thailand, recently spoke at the Asia Society in Washington DC. His topic was Thai-US relations. Thailand was the first Asian nation to enter into a bilateral relationship with the United States in 1833, the Treaty of Amity and Commerce. Over the past 170 years, the relationship has matured into a multifaceted partnership. Issues of mutual interest still include the political and security arena, especially in the face of global terrorism. But non-conventional security issues such as aids, human trafficking, and narcotics have become increasingly important. Also there is renewed interest in business and economics. Terrorism tends to impede economic development while Foreign Trade Agreements (FTA’s) lubricate economic progress. Currently the U.S. is Thailand’s largest export market and 2nd largest foreign investor, while Thailand is America’s 19th largest trading partner. Although sensitive issues remain to be addressed, the bilateral FTA between the U.S. and Thailand will be a win-win situation for both partners when negotiations are successfully concluded. Thailand invites U.S. businessmen to invest in Thailand. Thailand’s strategic location between the ‘economic tigers’ of China and India make it the perfect regional hub from which to do business in the entire region.
This luncheon event was held at the Asia Society in Washington DC on September 20th. His Excellency Dr. Surakiart will be speaking again on September 30th in New York City at the Asia Society and Museum in Manhattan as part of the Citigroup Series on Asian Distinguished Leaders.