Press release

Welsh Secretary signals start of a ‘Great’ British summer in South East Asia as British-Thai links celebrated

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan will represent the United Kingdom Government on a 5 day visit to South East Asia starting today…

Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan will represent the United Kingdom Government on a 5 day visit to South East Asia starting today [14th May].

Cheryl Gillan will become the first Cabinet Minister from the Coalition Government to visit Thailand, underlining the importance maintaining strong trade and tourism links as well as well as strong diplomatic ties with Thailand and other emerging powers.  During the 5-day trip, she will also visit Cambodia and Singapore.   

Mrs Gillan began her tour of the region by witnessing the signing of a $10m contract between the Thai Treasury and Royal Mint, who won a tender to supply 500 million 1Baht blanks (nickel plated).  The contract is worth £6m (300m Thai Baht) of sales revenue to the Royal Mint.

Mrs Gillan also attended a VisitBritain business networking event, where she gave the keynote speech to 200 international travel trade businesses and organisations, highlighting the support available to Thai businesses looking to invest in the UK.

The Secretary of State’s first visit to Thailand follows an earlier visit by the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary to South East Asia, underlining the UK’s continued commitment to working with the region to promote trade and investment opportunities. 

With the UK preparing for a ‘GREAT’ British Summer of Jubilee celebrations, Olympics and Paralympics, Mrs Gillan met today with women MPs, members of the Government and the opposition to exchange views and share knowledge and expertise regarding women’s role in politics, democracy and national reconciliation. 

Mrs Gillan will continue her visit tomorrow at the British Council Teaching Centre.  The centre helped 17,924 people sit English exams with the British Council in May 2009/10 and aims to establish 10 further academic links with Britain in 2012.  The Secretary of State will then visit Thailand’s National Olympic Committee (NOC) Headquarters, where UKBA will collect biometric information from around 50 athletes, journalists and other members of the Thai Olympic delegation. The Secretary of State will meet with the delegation to discuss UK preparation for the Olympics, before attending an evening reception with the St David’s Society of Bangkok. 

Mrs Gillan said:

“With today’s signing of a milestone deal between the Thai Treasury and The Royal Mint in Wales, we have further cemented the ties between our two countries. This deal is great news for Britain and has a special importance for me as Welsh Secretary as the aRMour™ nickel plated steel blanks which Thailand’s coins will be made from will be supplied by The Royal Mint, based in Llantrisant, South Wales.

“The Diamond Jubilee, Olympics and Paralympics will provide a worldwide platform for the UK to show all that is great about it and this summer we hope that many people will take this opportunity to visit, invest or study in the UK. 

“The Great campaign is a reminder to people all over the world about the impact which Britain has made worldwide and I am proud to be representing the UK Government in South East Asia.”

Notes for Editors:

  • The Royal Mint is based in Llantrisant in South Wales.  Opened by the Queen in 1968 in readiness for the introduction of the decimal coinage, The Royal Mint’s headquarters employs more than 900 people.
  • The Royal Mint won the tender for 500 million 1 Baht blanks (Nickel Plated) on 5April 2012 worth £6m sales revenue to The Royal Mint. The blanks will be struck into 1 Baht coins by the Royal Thai Mint located in Bangkok.
  • The Royal Mint has a contract to mint the victory medals for the (2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer.
  • The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon George Osborne MP, officially opened two new nickel plating production facilities at the Royal Mint in March 2011. The new facilities use aRMour technology which can deliver significant savings to central banks, issuing authorities and governments.
  •  The United Kingdom is currently the leading EU investor in Thailand with combined investments of £1.7billion at end 2008 (ONS) and exported goods from UK to Thailand worth £714m.
  • Major UK brands, such as Tesco and Boots have established their largest overseas operations in Thailand.
  •   Over 50,000 Britons are resident in Thailand.