Statement of Foreign Minister Timo Soini at the Press Conference with Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand Don Pramudwinai on 23th August 2018.
We just had a very good bilateral meeting. We discussed a number of bilateral and regional issues. Our relations with Thailand are longstanding and constructive.
We discussed about the democracy situation in Thailand. Respecting human rights and lifting of the restrictions on political activities is very important.
We noted that this is a very crucial period in Thailand, as the country is preparing for the elections and return to a democratic governance, which we welcome.
Finland stands ready to support Thailand in the process of returning back to democracy.
We also discussed trade. Thailand is the second biggest trade partner for Finland in South-East Asia. We are very pleased that the trade between our countries has grown considerably last year. There is also room for more economic cooperation.
We highly appreciate the long-lasting fruitful cooperation on issues related to forest berry picking between Finnish and Thai authorities.
Thai forest berry pickers are very important to the Finnish forest berry export industry, and their contribution is highly valued.
The problems that some Thai berry pickers have encountered have been taken seriously and are being processed in our judicial system. This is how a rule of law system works.
The Letter of Intent signed by the relevant authorities and the berry companies is monitored closely and updated in order to improve the legal standing and earning opportunities of the pickers.
While the state of Thai-EU relations remains under review, the EU looks forward to the progressive deepening of relations with Thailand.
The EU is progressing with the Free Trade Agreements with some of the ASEAN countries. The signing of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and the resumption of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with Thailand, may be pursued with a democratically elected civilian government.
During the bilateral meeting we also discussed about Thailand’s Chairmanship of ASEAN, and regional issues, including Cambodia, Myanmar, DPKR, and the South China Sea.