Dear CanCham Thailand Members:
In January 2020, I arrived in Thailand to take up my duties as Canada’s Ambassador. One of my first meetings was with the then CanCham President, VPs and Executive Director in February, 2020.
Despite that strong start, it is clear that this will be a challenging year for all of us in so many ways in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. So my main message to you is that the embassy is with you, now more than ever. We are not going to go back to the way things were before the pandemic. However, I am confident that, if we all work together, we can face this profound challenge and come out the other side of it.
My confidence stems in part from what I have seen of the members and the activities of CanCham already, since my arrival. My get-to-know-you in February with John, Derek, Caroline and Jen was immediately followed by a full board meeting hosted in the embassy which gave me a chance to meet many of the people who volunteer their time to promote Canadian business in Thailand.
Soon after, I participated in two important CanCham events. These quickly showed me just how well integrated CanCham is into the business community in Thailand, and how important a role it plays as a key partner for the embassy.
My first was the CanCham “Women in Leadership” seminar, organized by then Vice-President Caroline Kwan. I was particularly delighted to address the group because from 2016 to 2019 I was Champion for Women at Global Affairs Canada, Canada’s foreign ministry, so the subject of women in leadership is close to my heart. The audience at the Grand Hyatt was impressive, and the event was superbly organized.
My second event was the CanCham annual “Great Canadian BBQ” at the official residence. More people attended this year than ever, which gave me another wonderful, and early, opportunity to meet fellow Canadians and Thais who are friends of Canada. It was a pleasure for me and my family to welcome you to the residence for such a fun event.
I am impressed with the work of CanCham, and I strongly believe that if CanCham succeeds, the embassy succeeds in our trade and economic goals. It’s as simple as that. I have signaled to the new CanCham executive, under the capable leadership of President Derek van Pelt that the embassy will work hand in hand with CanCham throughout my term to help Canadian business people succeed in this important market.
Before the pandemic, 2020 had shaped up to be a great year for Canada-Thailand trade. Our statistics tell the story. For 2019, two-way trade between Canada and Thailand increased to $4.6 billion, up a strong 7 percent from 2018. Most striking was that Canadian exports of $895 million in 2019 were up almost 15 percent over the $780 million exported in 2018.
While 2020 will be a difficult year for global trade, our specialists here at the embassy, under the leadership of Senior Trade Commissioner Sanjeev Chowdhury, stand ready to support you in your endeavors. The embassy’s trade team is a creative one, made up of ten business-savvy individuals who will do all they can to guide you during these turbulent times. So don’t be shy about calling on them. They are here to help.
Finally, I congratulate John Stevens on his successful tenure as President of CanCham and I thank him for his warm welcome upon my arrival in this country. The Canadian community is fortunate to have someone like John who gives so much of himself. To the other members of the outgoing executive, thank you also for your service. And, finally, to President Derek and the new team, bon courage, and know that you can count on us.
Whether it is virtual or, circumstances permitting, in person, I look forward to seeing you at the next CanCham event!
Ambassador of Canada to Thailand
CanCham Thailand (Thai-Canadian Chamber of Commerce)
139 Pan Road, Sethiwan Tower, 9th floor, Bangkok 10500, Thailand
Phone: +66 (0) 2 266 6085-6 | Fax: +66 (0) 2 266 6087| firstname.lastname@example.org
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