British Foreign Secretary heads to Bangkok to strengthen post-Brexit ties with Asean countries

Dominic Raab will also discuss regional security co-operation and collaboration on challenges such as climate change

epa07747742 Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab arrives in Downing Street in Central London, Britain, 29 July 2019. Raab attends a meeting of ministers on a possible 'no deal Brexit' by 31 October.  EPA/WILL OLIVER
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Dominic Raab, the British Foreign Secretary, will meet ministers of 10 South-East Asian countries in Thailand on Wednesday as the UK government prepares to leave the EU.

On his first trip overseas since taking office last week, Mr Raab will meet foreign ministers from countries that represent a market of 650 million people and have trade links with the UK worth £36 billion (Dh160.8bn) a year.

Britain plans to increase its trading relationship with members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations, whose economic growth is forecast to be significantly more than the global average over the next five years.

“For too long, our trade focus has been on Europe," Mr Raab said before his trip. "We need to expand our horizons and raise our game.

"That means grasping the enormous global opportunities for the UK and my first trip as Foreign Secretary will look to strengthen our friendships across Asia.

“There are opportunities for us to boost trade to benefit UK businesses and consumers.

"I’ll also be looking at how we can strengthen our regional security co-operation and work together on global challenges like climate change.”

Mr Raab will attend the opening ceremony of the annual meeting of Asean foreign ministers on Wednesday and the gala dinner on Thursday.

He will also hold a meeting with the Thai Foreign Minister, Don Pramudwinai.