Council Concludes Business Mission to Thailand; Commitment to Thailand is Strong and Promises to be Stronger with FTA on the Horizon

(Bangkok, Thailand) The US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) today concluded a senior executives mission to Thailand comprised of representatives of 16 major American companies. The delegation of 27 executives was led by the Chairman of USABC bilateral US-Thailand Business Committee, William Ichord of Unocal Corporation, and USABC President Matthew Daley.

The delegation met yesterday with Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon. They also met with a wide range of government officials including Minister of Energy Viset Choopiban, Minister of Transportation Suriya Jungrungreangkit, Minister of Commerce Thanong Bidaya, Governor of the Bank of Thailand Pridiyathorn Devakula, Lead Negotiator of the US-Thailand FTA Nitya Pibulsonggram. The delegation also had discussions with the private sector, including the Federation of Thai Industries, Thai Chamber of Commerce, and Thai Bankers Association.

"We are here to underscore our strong economic relationship with Thailand -- one that will only widen and deepen with the successful conclusion of a United States -Thailand Free Trade Agreement," stated Matthew Daley, President of the US-ASEAN Business Council.

The group started the Mission with a stop in Phuket where they met with the Governors of the six provinces affected by the tsunami, and toured villages that were devastated by the tsunami. The Council has been coming to Thailand on business missions each year, but this visit is particularly important as the second Thaksin Administration is firmly in place and the US-Thailand Free Trade Agreement is about to enter the fourth round of negotiations.

The trip to Thailand was preceded by a mission to Cambodia that included meetings with Prime Minister Hun Sen, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and Senior Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh.

The companies represented on the mission consisted of a broad cross section of industries. In addition to Unocal Corporation, they include: The Boeing Company, ConocoPhillips, CH2MHill, Fluor Corporation, Chevron, The Coca-Cola Company, FedEx Express, Ford Motor Company, GE Capital, Guardian Industries, JHPiego, NewsCorp, Time Warner, UPS, and United Technologies.

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For 35 years, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for US corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's membership, more than 160 companies, generate over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people globally. Members include the largest US companies conducting business in ASEAN, and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for over 100 years. The Council has offices in: Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; and Singapore.