Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

04/02/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/02/2024 04:26

UK-Thailand Strategic Partnership Roadmap

Policy paper

UK-Thailand Strategic Partnership Roadmap

The UK and Thailand agreed a Strategic Partnership Roadmap during Foreign Secretary David Cameron's visit to Thailand in March 2024.

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The Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,

Recalling our close and longstanding relations that span for almost two centuries;

Reaffirming our shared commitment to the promotion of international peace, security and prosperity, international law and a rules-based international order based on the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter;

Declaring our commitment to work together to address regional and global challenges and improve the lives of our citizens;

AGREE to elevate our bilateral relationship to a "Strategic Partnership" and

Adopt the UK - Thailand Strategic Partnership Roadmap. This document will underpin the Strategic Partnership and will broaden and deepen cooperation across a breadth of areas, including: economic, trade and investment; political, parliamentary and multilateral; security and defence; climate change, energy, green economy and sustainable development; agriculture; digital, science, innovation and technology; health; and people-to-people links, education and soft power.

The Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will implement actions listed under the UK - Thailand Strategic Partnership Roadmap as follows:

1. Economic, trade and investment

The UK and Thailand will build upon our longstanding trade and economic partnership to unlock further potential in bilateral trade and pursue more open trade and investment through global and regional economic integration. To achieve this, we will:

a. Use the planned Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) and continue to use the ongoing Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) to further policy cooperation in areas such as tourism, food and agricultural products, healthcare, digital, finance and investment, standards, conformity assessment, and customs. The ETP will be a key vehicle for driving activity to grow bilateral trade in the immediate term alongside identifying future opportunities that could be delivered through a potential future UK-Thailand FTA.

b. Continue to deliver commitments under the annual Agri-Dialogue to deepen our cooperation in agriculture, food and drink.

c. Continue our mutual support for inward investment into both countries building upon our work with the Thailand UK Business Leadership Council (TUBLC) and the Thailand-UK Business Council (TUBC).

d. Deepen economic cooperation in trade facilitation, regulatory reforms and financial sector development, including through the UK-ASEAN Economic Integration Programme.

e. Explore further cooperation to strengthen economic resilience, including supply chain resilience and knowledge sharing on global economic risks and trends.

f. Enhance cooperation between the Thai Customs Department and His Majesty's Revenue and Customs on customs and trade facilitation by providing an overarching framework for cooperation, operational support and information sharing.

g. Increase exchanges and cooperation with financial regulators (including MOUs with the Bank of Thailand and the Securities and Exchange Commission) to support the development of Thailand's financial sector and ecosystem to support financial inclusion.

h. Seek to deepen UK - Thailand trade and capacity building in technology, aerospace, automotive, defence, agri-tech and industry through establishment of a STEM industrial partnership programme.

i. Work together to promote the rules-based international trading system and free trade at the World Trade Organization and other international fora.

2. Political, parliamentary and multilateral

The UK and Thailand will increase cooperation and engagement in political, parliamentary and multilateral affairs which will be achieved by the following:

a. Enhance the frequency of leaders, high-level ministerial and senior official visits and meetings to enable an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral, regional and global issues. In this regard, both sides agree to explore arrangements to facilitate travel between the two countries by our respective holders of Diplomatic Passports.

b. Commit to annual engagement between the Royal Thai Government's Foreign Minister and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's Secretary of State, and/or between the Royal Thai Government's Vice Foreign Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's Minister of State for the Indo-Pacific.

c. Continue to ensure that the UK-Thailand Strategic Dialogue at Ministerial level be held annually or as mutually agreed by both sides.

d. Deepen our political consultation on strategic geo-political issues in order to uphold the rules-based international system and contribute to regional and international stability.

e. Continue to promote and facilitate high-level exchanges between our respective Parliamentarians and Committees, including the Foreign Affairs Committee.

f. Collectively champion a reformed and reinvigorated multilateralism system which preserves the core principles of international organisations and ensures the full and meaningful participation of Member States and Observers. This includes strengthening our bilateral engagement and coordination at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and regional UN bodies headquartered in Bangkok as well as at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) headquartered in London, including through regular exchanges between our delegations.

g. Strengthen our cooperation through the ASEAN - UK Dialogue Partnership and the relevant ASEAN-led mechanisms, supporting ASEAN centrality and enhancing cooperation under the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), including regular exchanges on the progress on the implementation of the ASEAN - UK Plan of Action.

h. Continue efforts on preventing and combatting bribery and corruption in line with parties' commitments under the UN Convention Against Corruption.

3. Security and defence

In order to contribute to bilateral, regional and international stability, the UK and Thailand will seek to:

a. Establish a formal bilateral Security Dialogue that will deepen bilateral exchange on geopolitical and security issues, and track bilateral collaboration on security issues so as to promote mutual strategic interests.

b. Continue to demonstrate our commitment to responsible state behaviour in cyber space, including via UK programme assistance to Thailand's National Cyber Security Agency through capacity building and the UK-ASEAN programme to support and build cyber capability across Southeast Asia.

c. Further develop our cooperation and sharing of best practice on counter-terrorism, as per the Thailand-UK MoU between the National Security Council of Thailand (NSC) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) on Counter-Terrorism Cooperation.

d. Continue to deepen and formalise our defence cooperation as per the MoU between the Ministry of Defence of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on Defence Cooperation through the Thailand-UK Defence Bilateral Talks. This will enable greater bilateral exchange on issues of defence and security and explore the implementation of bilateral collaboration on professional military education, training, joint exercising, defence industry cooperation, maritime security and other mutually agreed areas.

e. Continue to deepen defence relationships across the Thailand Ministry of Defence and the branches of the Royal Thai Armed Forces to identify opportunities for greater capacity and capability building.

f. Continue to strengthen our partnership on the rule of law through deepening and broadening our collaboration and capacity building across the criminal justice sector including prisons, police and the judiciary including work to enable successful extraditions between our two countries.

g. Strengthen and promote cooperation in preventing and combating transnational crime and non-traditional security issues including cyber-crime, the threats of Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (CSEA), illegal migration and drug trafficking. Continue to support capability development to tackle these threats through technical assistance, regular dialogue and policy exchanges, both bilaterally and through related areas of Mekong cooperation frameworks, and ASEANAPOL.

h. Continue to focus cooperation on security and defence areas as identified in the ASEAN-UK Plan of Action such as maritime cooperation to demonstrate our commitment to Southeast Asia in accordance with the UK's application to join the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus.

i. Continue to collaborate on combatting transnational crime threats identified in the ASEAN-UK Plan of Action, as well as providing support to regional programming, under the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC).

4. Climate change, energy, environment, green economy and sustainable development

The UK and Thailand will work in strategic partnership to strengthen collaboration between global partners on sustainable development, environment, green growth and climate change. We will achieve this in the following ways:

a. Work together to raise ambitions in global climate negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and keep the target of 1.5C within reach.

b. Support Thailand to develop and implement low carbon transition plans and accelerate economic growth in green sectors, attracting green investment and EV manufacturing, which will encourage the decarbonisation of economic activities, energy systems and supply chains.

c. Exchange technological know-how and support knowledge-sharing in carbon pricing, sustainable finance and transport.

d. Build Thailand's climate resilience by championing the interests of climate vulnerable countries internationally, and exploring opportunities to collaborate on climate adaptation.

e. Scale up and scope a larger climate programme portfolio in Thailand through the International Climate Finance UK PACT (Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transition) which boosts capacity building for tackling climate change, and supporting regional climate cooperation including through the ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility (ACGF) and the Climate Action for a Resilient Asia (CARA) programme.

f. Support ASEAN's efforts on green transition including through exploring cooperation with the ASEAN Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue (ACSDSD), especially in the areas of clean energy, climate action, sustainable consumption and production, and green financing.

g. Work together to enhance capacity building to address regional development and environmental challenges in the Mekong-sub region, such as climate adaptation, energy transition, and air pollution through sub-regional frameworks, such as Ayeyawady - Chao Phraya - Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) and the Mekong River Commission (MRC).

h. Increase development policy cooperation, recognising Thailand's role as an ODA donor, including collaboration between Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA) and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

5. Agriculture

The UK and Thailand will engage in ongoing cooperation, as set out in the MoU on Agricultural Cooperation signed on 7 February 2023, between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoAC). We will:

a. Exchange policy and deepen ties through the formal annual Agriculture dialogue between Defra and MoAC, supported through regular technical exchange between relevant agencies.

b. Strengthen our cooperation in sustainable aquaculture, fisheries and shrimp disease, through bilateral exchange of expertise, policy, technologies and research.

c. Deepen our cooperation and sharing of best practice in animal health, disease control and surveillance to support tackling the global challenges of vector borne disease and food security.

d. Explore areas for future cooperation and sharing of best practice including animal health, disease control and surveillance, animal welfare, food processing, fisheries, aquaculture, horticulture, and reducing antimicrobial resistance in agriculture.

6. Digital, science, innovation and technology cooperation

The UK and Thailand will deepen our existing partnership on digital, science, innovation and technology cooperation to support mutual economic growth, enhance our security and tackle global challenges. We will:

a. Bolster collaboration between researchers and innovators from Thailand and the UK to address our shared and global challenges, including through the UK's International Science Partnership Fund and agreeing an MoU on higher education, science and technology, research and innovation.

b. Establish technical and expert dialogues on AI to enable exchange on governance and applications across public services and local challenges.

c. Scope and deliver a set of new programmes on science and technology (from AI to engineering biology) by the end of 2025.

d. Drive economic growth, societal impact and commercial outcomes through technology by encouraging trade missions, showcasing investment opportunities, and facilitating regular industry-to-industry engagements between the UK and Thailand.

e. Deepen our relationship on cybersecurity by facilitating inward and outward visits and continued technical dialogues.

f. Build on our June 2022 Letter of Intent on Digital Cooperation and recent projects such as open data and data sharing to further increase cooperation on digital standards and government.

g. Deliver new programmes and workshops on electronic trade documents and trade digitalisation, building on the 2023-2024 UK-Thailand-Singapore pilot. This should support both businesses to adopt these processes and Thailand to develop its own legislation on electronic trade documents.

h. Over the longer term, the UK and Thailand will work to ensure that the technologies of the future are shaped by our shared democratic values, including through collective engagement in the multilateral system (through UNESCO, UNESCAP, ITU and others) and via the development of global standards through open, transparent, consensus-based and multi-stakeholder processes and ensuring the benefits of technological advancements deliver for all.

7. Health

The UK and Thailand share a deep commitment to building more equitable access to quality health care and our health systems are globally recognised for their effectiveness in advancing Universal Health Coverage. We will use our combined expertise to accelerate national and regional progress towards 2030 targets under SDG3; advancing Universal Health Coverage and strengthening pandemic prevention, preparedness and response (PPPR). We will:

Strengthen national and regional health systems for UHC and health security by:

a. Support Thailand's regional leadership on health systems development and efforts to enhance regional health system capacity.

b. Deepen our collaboration to strengthen health security by building national and regional capacities for prevention, detection and response to health emergencies including through collaboration between the UK Health Security Agency and Thailand-hosted ASEAN Center for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED) Secretariat, ACPHEED for Response and Risk Communication and ASEAN+3 Field Epidemiology Training Network, under the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) funded International Health Regulations Strengthening Project.

c. Support and promote the strengthening of health systems in Southeast Asia, building the resilience of health systems to manage health emergencies, and improving equitable access to care.

d. Explore Thailand's participation in the proposed ASEAN-UK Health Security Partnership programme (2023-28), which will mobilise UK and ASEAN expertise to widen access to healthcare in the region, support implementation of a One Health approach and strengthen preparedness for health emergencies.

e. Collaborate in multilateral fora, and bilaterally, to address the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance. Scope Thailand's participation in the UK DHSC's Fleming Fund to generate, share and use data to improve antimicrobial use as part of global efforts to encourage action against drug resistance.

f. Work together to advance the development of medical technologies and tools to enhance pandemic preparedness. Including through: * UK DHSC's Vaccine Network, supporting the UK-Southeast Asia Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub such as the programme (led by the University of Sheffield partnered with Thailand's Chulalongkorn University) to improve vaccine research and manufacturing capacity for rapid development and scale up. * DHSC's cooperation with Thailand on genomics, as detailed in the 2023 UK-Thailand Genomics MoU, to share expertise in genome sequencing, collaborate in research, education and training opportunities, knowledge exchange and genomics data handling.

Support effective multilateral cooperation and delivery for Universal Health Coverage by:

g. Coordinate in key multilateral fora across areas of common interest (health security, UHC, AMR, SRHR) to secure multilateral cooperation and agreements that contribute to SDG3 and improved health outcomes globally. h. Work together, where appropriate, to strengthen the effectiveness of multilateral health actors and initiatives in the delivery of our shared global health objectives.

8. People-to-people links, education and soft power

Thailand and the UK recognise that our deep and longstanding people-to-people links, especially in education, arts and culture, are amongst the strongest tools for strengthening mutual trust and understanding. We wish to build on our current bilateral engagement and cooperation. To achieve this, we will:

a. Hold commemorative events in Thailand and the UK in 2025 to celebrate 170 years of diplomatic relations since the signing of The Bowring Treaty.

b. Continue our high-level engagement on consular issues through the Consular Dialogue, focusing on strengthening cooperation such as: core consular assistance services; tourism safety and security, and; crisis preparedness and response, in both countries.

c. Agree to have an MoU on education, promoting mutually beneficial cooperation and collaborating in areas such as English language teaching, learning and assessment.

d. Agree to have an MoU on higher education, science, technology, research and innovation, strengthening higher education systems and driving internationalization of higher education, enhancing research and development partnerships, and widening participation.

e. Utilise our education partnerships to tackle major challenges in Thailand, the UK, and global challenges such as climate change and sustainable energy.

f. Seek to deepen our partnership in education through the establishment of transnational education programmes, including joint degree programmes.

g. Enhance direct linkages and partnerships between higher educational institutions of both countries and working towards mutual recognition of academic and professional qualifications.

h. Support and promote the two-way mobility of students, academics and researchers, utilising existing immigration routes.

i. Seek possibilities to discuss initiating an MoU on artistic and cultural collaboration, promoting long term Thai-UK creative cooperation, while raising awareness on the roles of arts in developing more equal and inclusive societies.

j. Connect our respective cultural and creative industries as well as national and provincial government policymakers, creating opportunities for creative economy development, mutually beneficial partnerships, and trade.

k. Support the two-way exchange of culture, values, and ideas between the people of Thailand and the UK.

l. Support Thailand to boost skills and knowledge in a wide range of sectors and strengthening people-to-people relations through Chevening and other UK Scholarships.

m. Promote the two-way flow of tourists and the development of associated sectors, supporting and underpinning engagement in all other sectors.

n. Increase people-to-people understanding including through youth and cultural exchanges.

o. Promote the development and provision of English language training in vocational and Higher Education to support Thai professionals' work and study opportunities.

p. Promote Track 1.5 and Track 2 Dialogues between our respective think-tanks, academics and policy makers.

q. Increase frequency of exchanges on the promotion and protection of human rights.

r. Facilitate technical cooperation and capacity building on issues of mutual interest such as good governance, rule of law, gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.

This UK-Thailand Strategic Partnership Roadmap does not intend to create any legally binding obligations under international law.

Signed at Bangkok, in duplicate, on 20 March 2024.

Published 2 April 2024
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