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Dear CanCham Thailand Members,

2022 was a banner year for canada in the Indo-Pacific region, and in Thailand in particular. Here’s why:

In 2021, we passed a milestone with two-way trade between thailand and canada reaching, for the first time ever, $5 billion CAD. But even better news has just come out from Statistics Canada on our 2022 two-way trade figures, which hit a new record of $6.4 billion! Both canadian merchandise exports and imports rose in 2022, to $1.2 billion (from a previous high of $895 million in 2019), and to more than $5.2 billion (from a record $4.12 billion in 2021) respectively.

Our sectors of strength in 2022 were unchanged from past years, notably wood pulp, machinery, electrical equipment, cereals, fertilizers, and fur for canada and electric equipment, machinery, prepared meat and fish, rubbers, precious stones and metals for Thailand. I remain puzzled but pleased that thailand is so keen to purchase canadian fur, especially as we go through anotherSongkranhotseason.Moregenerally, i am delighted to see another record high in bilateral trade, a remarkable achievement given the challenges of the past few years.

These banner figures cemented Thailand’s position as Canada’s second largest ASEAN trading partner. The Thai government, along with governments of the other nine ASEAN members, are currently negotiating with us a Canada-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA). While these negotiations will take time, the FTA, when signed, will be a game-changer for the trading relationship between our two nations. An FTA will see two-way trade with thailand and the region grow even more, and encourage further partnerships in trade, investment, sustainability and responsible business conduct.

This was a banner year in other areas, too.
on December 3, 2022, i was honored to celebrate the arrival of the first Air Canada flight to Bangkok. Air Canada’s dynamic team, with support from the embassy, worked with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, and Suvarnabhumi Airport to make this flight possible. It was a bold move after the tough pandemic years, and is the only direct flight from anywhere in North America to Thailand. While seasonal and four times a week to start, we hope that the overwhelming success of AC065, which has been well over 90% full on most flights to date, will lead Air Canada to expand it in 2023.

This new venture came at a perfect time, signaling a rebirth of air travel, trade and tourism in a world still in recovery from the Covid19 pandemic.

There is also strong symbolism in a new flight connecting Canada and Thailand. Its launch came just after i welcomed another important flight to Bangkok, on 17 November 2022, bringing canada’s Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, to the APEC Summit graciously hosted by Thailand.

Prime Minister trudeau’s visit was an opportunity, as he said, to “position canada as a strong partner to grow and diversify trade to create good, middle-class jobs on both sides of the Pacific, and strengthen ties between our people”.

His visit was followed shortly afterwards by the release of a broad new government policy framework, Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, whose objectives are to:

  • Promote peace, resilience and security;

  • Expand trade, investment and supply chain resilience;

  • Invest in and connect people;

  • Build a sustainable and green future; and

  • Position Canada as an active and engaged partner to the Indo-Pacific.

The strategy is backed by $2.3 billion in funding over the next five years, which will support increased Canadian activity, profile and presence in the region. This will include support for further activities in partnership with canadian chambers of commerce around the region. We look forward to working even more closely with cancham once these funds start to flow.

Strategic partnerships above all require human relationships to flourish. These include personal stories of travel, study, joint ventures and family reunions. This is exactly what flight AC065 is making possible by building a new air bridge across the Pacific Ocean. it is also why the work of cancham and its membership is so important. You are at the heart of these human relationships that link Canada to Thailand and the broader region.

Our trade commissioners here at the embassy, under the leadership of Senior Trade Commissioner Sanjeev chowdhury, stand ready to support and assist you in these endeavours. Our trade team is made up of 10 business-savvy individuals who will do all they can to guide you in your business and investment activities. So, don’t be shy about calling on them. They are ready, willing, and more than able to help.

I am delighted to congratulate Dean outerson on his recent election as CanCham President. i want to thank outgoing board members, in particular former Presidents John Stevens and Derek van Pelt, who have both served as President during my time as ambassador, for their service while welcoming new board members to the team. To CanCham members, i encourage you to attend chamber events and support this wonderful organization whenever you can.

Just as 2023 is seeing changes in the CanCham Board, so too at the embassy. Sadly, later this year, my term as ambassador to Thailand will come to an end. However, both Sanjeev chowdhury and christophe rouleau will remain in Thailand until August 2024, so the business community will enjoy continuity even after my departure.

The last three years have flown by too quickly. I will miss my time here in the “Land of Smiles” and my interactions with our great chamber of Commerce and its members. But you can rest assured that i will brief my successor on the great relationship the embassy shares with CanCham.

I have no doubt that, working together, we can reach even greater heights of trade and investment between canada and thailand in the years to come, something i will continue to watch with interest.


Sarah Taylor

Ambassador of Canada to Thailand 

CanCham Thailand (Thai-Canadian Chamber of Commerce)
139 Pan Road, Sethiwan Tower, 9th floor

Bangkok 10500, Thailand

Phone & Fax

+66 (0) 2 266 6085-6 | Fax: +66 (0) 2 266 6087

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