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“Discover Thailand” event highlights bilateral trade and investment opportunities

Panagiotis Chasapis, Executive Vice President of SEVE with Vicky Karantzavelou, Co-Founder of TravelDailyNews Asia-Pacific and Member of the Hellenic-Thai Chamber of Commerce (HTCC) discussing about doing business in Thailand.

Greek and Thai business leaders convened to explore growing economic ties and investment prospects in Thailand’s dynamic market.

An event titled “Discover Thailand” was organized by the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA), Enterprise Greece, and the Greek Exporters Association (SEVE), with the support of Eurobank. The event took place on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, at SEV’s headquarters. The goal was to strengthen economic ties with Thailand and inform Greek businesses about the entrepreneurial and investment opportunities in the Thai market. Thailand, recognized as one of the fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia, has shown remarkable socio-economic development in recent decades, largely driven by tourism, manufacturing, and high-tech product production.

Vicky Makrigianni

In her opening remarks, Ms. Vicky Makrygianni, Director of International Relations and Regional Development at SEV, highlighted Thailand’s position as the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia. She noted Thailand’s role as a business hub for neighboring developing countries, its outward-looking economy with international trade accounting for approximately 134% of its GDP, and the potential for growth in sectors such as food (due to rising consumer incomes and a robust tourism industry), energy (in light of Thailand’s national energy plan), technology and telecommunications (with Thailand’s ambitions to become a digital infrastructure hub for ASEAN), as well as construction, building materials, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and healthcare. She emphasized that strengthening bilateral trade could benefit both nations.

Fanis Matsopoulos

Mr. Fanis Matsopoulos, a member of the EBEA Board of Directors, remarked that apart from tourism, Thailand’s high-tech product manufacturing has significantly boosted its GDP and per capita income. He praised Thailand’s investment-friendly environment, which has attracted substantial foreign direct investment. He also pointed out that since 2019, the Greek economy has shifted its focus, achieving growth and transforming its production model. He identified opportunities for mutually beneficial commercial relations, noting that the current bilateral trade of $200 million does not reflect the full potential of both economies. He also stressed Thailand’s strategic geographical location in the heart of Southeast Asia, enhancing its geopolitical significance in this vital economic region.

Marinos Giannopoulos

Dr. Marinos Giannopoulos, CEO of Enterprise Greece, emphasized Thailand’s adaptability and inventiveness, highlighting that both countries are recognized for their innovation and economic growth. He proposed that Greece and Thailand could further develop their bilateral strategic partnership through various initiatives and sectors, including technology and innovation exchange, expanding bilateral trade flows, collaboration in the space industry, tourism, manufacturing, supply chain, and the food and beverage industry. He stated that these opportunities could strengthen commercial relations and foster new collaborations leading to business excellence, innovation, and prosperity.

Mr. Panagiotis Hasapis, Executive Vice President of SEVE, underscored Thailand’s importance as an export destination for SEVE. He recalled multiple business missions organized since 2005, with the most recent in 2019, and addressed the commercial relations between the two countries. He noted that the total trade in goods between the two countries is at an early stage, with the total value of goods trade in 2023 reaching €207 million. He highlighted the low value of Greek goods imports from Thailand, amounting to €65 million in 2023, compared to Thailand’s total imports of €270 billion from all countries. He stressed the need to reverse this trend and exploit significant growth opportunities. He concluded that achieving this goal requires effective collaboration and strategic initiatives to jointly develop and expand the variety of exported products.

Sathana Kashemsanta Na Ayudhya

Thai Ambassador to Greece, Mr. Sathana Kashemsanta Na Ayudhya, also addressed the event, followed by a special session focused on Greece-Thailand bilateral trade relations and the business opportunities in the Thai market. Participants included Ms. Maria Vasilaki from the B5 Directorate of Bilateral Economic Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Visit Limlurcha, Vice-Chairman, Thai Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade of Thailand; Ms. Anongnart Mahasawat, Director, Thai Trade Center in Milan; Ms. Sanlaya Aksharamat, Director, Board of Investment of Thailand, Frankfurt Office; and Ms. Eleni Albanti from Eurobank.

The final session centered on doing business in the Thai market, where Ms. Vicky Karantzavelou, Co-Founder of TravelDailyNews Asia-Pacific and Member of the Hellenic-Thai Chamber of Commerce (HTCC), founded in 2016 and based in Bangkok, provided insights and practical advice, responding to questions from both the session moderator, Mr. Panagiotis Hasapis, and attendees.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.