Digital technologies have transformed relations between Thailand, the ASEAN region’s second-largest digital economy, and the UK, third largest in the world.

Because of the strength of digital, the relationship between Thailand, the second-largest digital economy in the Association of Southeast Asian States (ASEAN), and the UK, the third-largest digital economy in the world, has never been stronger.

According to a recent report from The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the UK’s Centre for Digital Trade and Innovation (C4DTI), the Electronic Transaction Development Agency (ETDA), the Centre for Applied Sustainable Transition Law (CASTL), and the British Embassy in Bangkok, the UK-Thailand digital trade partnership has advanced significantly.

The paper uses FCDO-funded data to help Thailand digitize trade and remove legal restrictions.

The project’s main goal is to facilitate the establishment of a paperless trade corridor between Thailand and the UK so that businesses on both sides can import and export goods at lower costs and with greater speed.

Thailand’s statute was aligned with the UN Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records with C4DTI’s help (MLETR).

Thailand-UK trade is going digital

This program makes it easy to handle and process commercial trade documents in a paperless trading system.

The digital revolution will assist small and medium-sized firms in both economies. Benefits include eliminating complex, paper-based processes, lowering expenses, and speeding trade transactions.

This project addresses paper-heavy processes that slow transactional information flow and economic progress.

ICC and Commonwealth studies suggest that legal reform will increase trade by $9trillion in the G7 and $1.2trillion in the Commonwealth, decrease trade transaction costs by 80%, reduce processing time by 75%, and eliminate the trade financing gap by half ($1.7trillion worldwide).

A typical transaction takes three months and includes 27 paper documents. Digitization might complete the process in hours. 4 billion paper papers circulate in the trading system.

Optimistic beginnings

Chris Southworth, secretary-general of ICC United Kingdom, calls the study and project’s success a remarkable example of the international community working together to build the correct legal environment for future trade.

Southworth confirmed the project’s next steps to test technologies to enable paperless information flow. They must demonstrate the global benefits of paperless trade, which allows SMEs enter new markets with minimal friction and border bureaucracy.

His Majesty’s Ambassador to Thailand, Mark Gooding OBE, calls the UK-Thailand partnership to remove trade barriers through digitalization and ETRs “essential.” Like Thailand, the UK promoted and adopted digital trade during its 2021 G7 Presidency.

Still much to do

Thailand’s 2027 National Digital Economy Strategy Plan aims to boost competitiveness by lowering regulatory barriers and boosting trade facilitation.

Dr. Sak Segkhoonthod, executive advisor and acting deputy executive director at the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) under the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, Thailand, says the Electronic Transactions Act is an example of how Thailand has developed legal frameworks and standards to promote cross-border e-transactions.

Thailand’s digital transformation requires stakeholder communication and collaboration during and after law and standard implementation, Segkhoonthod says. Although cross-border e-transactions and trade facilitation are still far off, all stakeholders are working to close the digital trade gap, like this project.

UK Thailand digital economy
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