Prime Minister Morrison, Deputy Prime Minister to Thailand Khun Anutin Charnvirakul, Trade/investment and Tourism Minister Birmingham, Australian ambassador Allan Mckinnon, distinguished guests – on behalf on the board of directors, members and sponsors of the Australian Thai chamber of commerce, we most sincerely welcome you to the Kingdom of THAILAND during this auspicious occasion of the hosting of the ASEAN summit here in Bangkok.
We highly appreciate the time you have made in your incredibly busy schedule to engage with our members here this morning.
The Australian Thai chamber of commerce has for over 40 years proudly represented the interests of its members here in Thailand, most of which have been Australian individuals and companies who have established their businesses here in Thailand. They have over many years continued to grow their business, many of which having used the benefits on the bilateral opportunities, including most recently the Thailand Australia Free Trade Agreement.
They have found a valuable ally in divisions within the Australian embassy here in Bangkok and in particular DFAT and Austrade with whom many of us have worked closely.
AustCham has a proud heritage of supporting this businesses and the interests of Australia at large. Since the inception in 1977 when the Chamber was established as the 1st Australian Chamber in the ASEAN region and the just the 2nd globally – the Thai/Australian relationships have grown significantly in so many ways, be it through trade/commerce and education – and the increase multi-national corporations from both Thailand and Australia investing both ways as reflection of the opportunities they see existing.
Boards and presidents over many years have been committed to proudly representing the culture and interests of Australia, and I am pleased to see many of those long serving members, sponsors and past presidents here with us this morning. And I thank them for being here. In particular I would like to call out John Hancock (who is here today) and Kenneth Bradley. past presidents who have both been recognized at the highest levels for the contributions they have made.
The chamber represents some 400 members represented by 360 companies with more than 350,000 staff through that network.
With a small office staff the chamber, and through our 12 sub-committees annually conducts more than 70 events at which we have more than 5,000 attendees, had over 60 articles published by members through various channels, run community events.
Additionally the Chamber has representation at the Thailand Board of Trade, TANZBC & Customs Alliance, and collaborates closely with our counterparts at the American, British and German chambers where we are aligned to leverage and further the interests of our members at government level. The Thailand chamber also plays a prominent role in Austcham ASEAN in advancing the support of Australian businesses into the region, particularly as it is an important hub for the CLMV area. The annual ASEAN business survey is already providing valuable information to government on the needs of businesses operating in the region. Thailand.
The Australian community extends beyond the Chamber with Alumni, Hellfire Pass (where we played a role in the restoration), Schools, Charity organizations and Women’s groups and includess to sporting teams (no rugby league that I am aware of but there is an opening for the Bangkok Sharks) – and we look forward to extending that relationship with them through the Advance Australia Council.
Being Australian is about having a connection with people and the community and we are strongly reknown for our friendship and compassion and can be relied upon to support whenever the need arises.
We are firmly committed to the furthering interests of our members under our 3 pillars of business/connection/community, participating in all future initiatives with the Embassy as these arise and that the chamber continues to proudly advocate everything that is Brand Australia.
Prime Minister, we wish you well in progress of all your important engagements here today and that we hope it is not too much longer before we see you back again for another visit to this lovely Kingdom of Thailand.
Mr. Wayne Williams
President of Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce (AustCham Thailand)