Thai cross-border easing welcomed

June 29, 2020
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Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau (second left) responds to questions raised by webinar participants at a panel discussion session titled Hong Kong’s Role in Regional Co-operation and Business Partnership.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today welcomed the government of Thailand's decision to establish a special travel arrangement for cross-border control with five economies including Hong Kong.


The announcement was made during a webinar, titled Resilience Strategy: Thailand-Hong Kong Partnership, jointly organised by the Commerce & Economic Development Bureau and the Thailand Board of Investment.


Thailand’s Deputy Secretary General to the Prime Minister for Political Affairs Kobsak Pootrakool called the decision a first step in relaxing its inbound passenger control.


The Hong Kong SAR Government explained that a newly established inter-departmental team will start a discussion with relevant departments in the Thai government in the coming week or two.


Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau said: "This is very encouraging news for both Hong Kong and Thailand. If the special relaxation arrangements for cross-border control can be established between the two places, cross-border business exchange can be gradually resumed for Hong Kong, which is set to give a tremendous boost to our economic recovery.


"We are confident that we can reach an agreement expeditiously and become one of each other's first partners of the special travel arrangement for cross-border control.”


Mr Yau emphasised that precautionary measures will be taken to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.


"On establishing the relevant mechanism with Thailand, it is most important to contain the potential risk brought about by the increase of passenger flow and continuously monitor the epidemic development and prevention work of the two places while relaxing the control on inbound passenger traffic progressively.


"The overall goal is to strike a balance between economic considerations and epidemic control. The discussion between the two sides will be based on science and aim to formulate simple and practical operation procedures with appropriate health control and protocol.


“The relevant discussion will touch on details of the relaxation measures for cross-border control, specific operation arrangements to reduce the risks of spreading the virus across the borders, the provision of transport services and more."


The webinar attracted nearly 600 participants from chambers of commerce, small and medium enterprises and start-ups in Hong Kong and Thailand, providing a platform for attendees to share Hong Kong’s experience and insights on applications of innovation and technology to combat the coronavirus disease.


It also facilitated Hong Kong enterprises intending to expand into the Thai market to better understand the local business environment, thereby fostering closer economic and trade collaboration with Thailand.

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