Prime Minister on a Visit to Kuwait for the First ACD Summit

Prime Minister on a Visit to Kuwait for the First ACD Summit

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is on a visit to the State of Kuwait to attend the first summit of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), scheduled for 15-17 October 2012.

The Prime Minister will take this opportunity to pay an official visit to Kuwait on October 17 to strengthen bilateral relations and increase trade and investment opportunities between Thailand and Kuwait.

The ACD Summit was proposed by His Highness the Amir of Kuwait during the 10th ACD Ministerial Meeting, held in Kuwait in 2011. Member countries have taken turns hosting the annual ACD Ministerial Meeting. Thailand believed that the summit would mark a new chapter of ACD and would not only be a good opportunity to consolidate the past achievements but also to shape the future direction, in order to meet the expectations of Asia as a new global growth center.

ACD, initiated by Thailand, was established in 2002 with 18 member countries, to serve as an open and informal forum for the exchange of views and experiences on issues of common interest between Asian nations. It aims to tap into Asia’s strengths to enhance the competitiveness of member countries and to serve as a “missing link” to bring together existing subregional and regional cooperative mechanisms in Asia.

ACD celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2012, and the forum now has 32 member countries. There are currently 20 areas of cooperation. Thailand now serves as the prime mover of tourism and financial cooperation and co-prime mover in the area of human resource development.

Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul represented Thailand at the ACD Ministerial Meeting, on the sideline of the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 27 September 2012.

As ACD coordinator, Thailand plays an important role in preparation for the first ACD Summit in Kuwait. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand proposed three issues for the summit to consider. The first issue is for ACD to establish a clear vision to meet the emerging challenges and advance the economies. Refocusing and setting priorities among the existing cooperation areas are needed in order to serve as effective building blocks for pan-Asian cooperation and an Asian community. 

The second issue is that ACD should initiate a regional connectivity to consolidate areas of cooperation, such as food and energy security. Member countries will work on a blueprint that would link Asia together in the same manner as the Silk Road and the Trans-Siberian railway.

The third issue seeks to explore financial linkages to maximize the financial resources within the region, such as networking among stock exchanges, expanding the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization, and reviewing the Asia Bond initiative. 

Thailand also proposed to host an annual meeting of senior officials and look into the possibility of setting up a permanent Secretariat as a coordinator and an institutional database.

Thailand and Kuwait have long enjoyed close and cordial relations. His Highness the Amir of Kuwait visited Thailand in 2006 on the auspicious occasion of the 60th anniversary of His Majesty the King’s accession to the throne. There have been exchanges of visits between the two countries on a continuous basis. 

During the first half of 2012, about 40,000 Kuwaiti tourists visited Thailand, particularly for family holidays, for honeymoons, and for medical tourism. The number represents an increase of 20 percent over the same period of 2011.

Prime Minister Yingluck will hold talks with her Kuwaiti counterpart, His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, to boost trade cooperation in the areas of agro-industry, construction, and medical tourism. On this occasion, Thailand will urge Kuwait to invest in the Thai capital market and other projects, such as a high-speed rail system.

The Prime Minister is also accompanied by representatives from the private sector, and she will return to Bangkok on 18 October 2012.