Goran Persson talked business in Singapore and Thailand

Trade and business were high on Swedish PM Goran Persson’s agenda when he toured Thailand and Singapore the past week.
     In Thailand Goran Persson marketed the Saab made fighter jet JAS Gripen in a way that took the reclusive Saab executives that joined him to Thailand with surprise.
     He literally forced them to talk openly about the potential for Sweden’s latest military aircraft system to get a slice of the Thai market.
     No negotiations so far but senior Royal Thai Air Force have visited their colleagues in Sweden 2003 and seen Gripen in action.
     Thailand has two batches, 16 aircraft in each, of old US made F5 fighters that are due to be retired in the coming years and is reportedly looking for a replacement that is in the Gripen range and type of aircraft.
     But to go from there to a deal done is a different story.
     Another possible contract which Goran Persson indirectly promoted is a sophisticated operations control and management IT center the Provincial Electricity Authority, PEA, has advised it is going to procure.
     ABB Sweden can deliver on that and this was one reason for Goran Persson’s visit to ABB’s site in Bangpoo outside Bangkok.
     “If it happens, our Swedish operations would provide the IT center, training and know how to PEA in Thailand,” says ABB executives to Scandasia. “But the PM’s visit in Bangpoo was also in recognition of ABB’s importance to Thai Swedish trade.”
     On a higher political level, Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra asked the Swedish guest to facilitate the Thai Kitchen of the World export drive to Sweden.
     More explicitly the issue of smoother visa and work permit regulations for Thai chefs going to Sweden was brought up.
     The opportunity to draft bilateral trade agreements was also discussed during the talks in Bangkok.
     Thaksin Shinawatra said Sweden could act as a gateway for Thai products into the EU. That would be in line with the ambitions of the Northern European Thailand Information centre which is being built in Ragunda, close to the Thai pavilion there.
     Thaksin did also encourage even more tourists from Sweden to visit Thailand in the future.
     And as gesture of friendship the two PM´s exchanged mobile phone numbers.
     “So we can talk directly. I know it is a bit hard for our Foreign Ministries to take but that is the world of today,” said Goran Persson.
     In Singapore, PM Persson said bilateral ties could be developed in areas such as biotechnology, defence, information technology and telecommunications.
     His Singaporean counterpart Goh Chok Tong said that the Nordic European Centre in Singapore could act as launch pad for Swedish firms looking to expand in the region.
     Both sides could collaborate in creative design and research, particularly in biotechnology, continued PM Goh.

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