A well-visited evening event on 11 January 2018 saw all the four Chambers of Commerce organisations (Danish-Thai, Thai-Finnish, Thai-Norwegian and Thai-Swedish) in Thailand kick off their, intended, deeper-than-ever-before collaboration. It was announced to the members and guests in the lovely garden of the Residence of Danish Ambassador Uffe Wolffhechel, at the Royal Danish Embassy in Bangkok, also with all four Nordic Ambassadors gracing the event with their attendance.
At this Nordic New Year’s Kick-Off 2018, aside being briefed on the collaboration, those in attendants were encouraged to network and to discuss ideas around the new partnership further, also being encouraged to present any idea to the respective Executive Directors of all the four chambers of commerce.
Welcoming all guests the event Karri Kivelä, Executive Director of the Thai-Finnish Chamber of Commerce, told that the newly established Nordic Chamber cooperation in Thailand would like to start up was born out of friendship, common minds and common set of ideals. And said they all hoped it will be a success.
“We cannot promise anything but hope this will be the kick-off of a closer co-operation between the Nordic Chambers here in Thailand.”
“Also, Iceland has requested to become an associate member of the Nordic block here in Thailand, thus making it possible for a true Nordic cooperation between all five Nordic countries represented in Thailand,” he continued.
The Thai-Finnish Chamber of Commerce (TFCC) President Mr Jari Hietala gave further details on behalf of the Nordic Chambers and began by noting that seemed to be off to a good start: “It is very encouraging to see so many of you participating tonight; we are 200 plus in this garden. Really encouraging for us in the chambers! We might be on the right track; at least there seems to be high interest at least among members towards intensified the Nordic cooperation.”
Jari Hietala focused on to first outline the bigger picture about Nordic countries and the Nordic Chambers of Commerce, followed by the big picture the Nordic chambers in Thailand’s future cooperation.
The Nordic countries rank high in all major international classifications and ratings, when it comes to competiveness, innovations, digitisation etc.
“Also many Nordic companies present in Thailand are global leaders in their particular sectors. And in Asia the Nordic countries are also very visible; with the exception of Iceland they have embassies and diplomatic missions in all larger countries in Asia, as well as chambers of commerce organisations or business councils.“
The President pointed to that the Nordic countries share many things where the ‘Nordics’ is, especially when looking at these countries from the Thailand perspective, an easily understood entity.
Outlining the Nordic chamber cooperation he continued: “In order to meet the business challenges for Nordic companies in Thailand and to offer more benefits for the members the Nordic chambers have decided to work more closely together. This means that we still operate independent bilateral chambers but combine our limited resources in some key areas. The boards of four Nordic chambers will govern the cooperation and we have also welcomed Iceland to participate in the development and according to their resources.”
The basic aim Jari Hietala said is business-driven: to be able to meet the competition in the market place, to offer more benefits to members and partners, and to enjoy the logical benefits for the Nordic cooperation.
The events programme for 2018 is not decided yet but will be presented in the near future.
“We wanted to present to you all this Nordic cooperation initiative tonight as we now have a good time to discuss this plan and get to know each other a little better. You are all most welcome to pass your ideas and suggestions to the Nordic Executive Directors. This is the way we can build a yearly Nordic programme for the coming years.”
At more general level the 2018 Nordic cooperation plan include the following: Advocacy work; organise events Nordic values, innovations and expertise promotion; offer concrete Nordic partnership to Thai companies who want to reach the Nordic businesses and communities in Thailand; create an inside market with the Nordic companies with the help of introductions through the Nordic Chamber offices and board members; create up-to-date programme to our chambers online platform; Nordic logo and images available to all partners; organise a couple of key Nordic events targeted to our Nordic communities, and to form task groups in charge of the various collaborative parts.
Furthermore, the Nordic chambers will start selling a Nordic Partnership status as the highest level of cooperation with companies that want to work with the Nordics together. These Nordic partnerships will then the right to use the Nordic logo, images and slogans.
The Honorary Consul Mr Paul Weber, from the Consulate-General of the Republic of Iceland also held a short speech, saying: ‘I’m happy to be here and see my dream come true! Because I tried to do what you have now succeeded in doing, when I was the President of DTCC in the 1990s. And I’m very glad that the very small Icelandic community has been accepted in this community as associate of the Nordic members. We will certainly do our best to support this very good initiative and in the true Nordic spirit. Five together have bigger voice than one!”