Thailand hosts the 23rd BIMSTEC Senior Officials Meeting (SOM)

On 8 March 2023, Thailand as Chair of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) hosted the 23rd BIMSTEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) in virtual form at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Sarun Charoensuwan, Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, presided over the Meeting, while Mr. Cherdchai Chaivaivid, Director-General of the Department of International Economic Affairs, attended as Thailand’s Senior Official.

The Meeting took stock of the progress made under each sectors of cooperation since the 22nd SOM in March 2022 as well as administrative and financial matters. The Meeting endorsed the Rules of Procedure for BIMSTEC Mechanisms, a set of protocol documents that will help BIMSTEC function more systematically. Additionally, the Senior Officials also endorsed the Agreement on Maritime Transport Cooperation, which will contribute to enhancing maritime connectivity within the region.

As Lead Country, Thailand gave a report on the progress made under the Connectivity Sector. Following the finalization of Agreement on Maritime Transport Cooperation, Thailand also urged Member States to continue the discussions on the Draft Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of the Agreement. In this regard, Thailand will host the Fourth Meeting of the BIMSTEC Transport Connectivity Working Group on 20 March 2023.

Thailand also informed the Meeting of its proposal to establish a BIMSTEC business advisory council to enhance engagements between BIMSTEC and the private sector, with a view to further drive trade and investment in the region.

The BIMSTEC Senior Officials’ Meeting is a core BIMSTEC mechanism responsible for the preparation for the Ministerial Meeting, which includes stocktaking of progress of each sector of cooperation and endorsing of relevant documents for the consideration by the Ministers.