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Khun Krirk-Krai Jirapaet CV

Khun Krirk-Krai Jirapaet’s illustrious career both in the government and private sectors spans over almost four decades. He held numerous high-ranking positions in the Thai bureaucracy, culminated in Ministerial positions as Vice-Minister of Tourism and Sports and subsequently Minister of Commerce. As an Eminent Person, he is currently a member of the Council of State (กรรมการกฤษฎีกา), the Executive arms of the Government responsible for the drafting of legislation. He holds top positions in several companies both listed and unlisted. He also makes his expertise and skills available to think-tank institutes and not-for-profit organisations.

Khun Krirk-Krai received a Bachelor of Political Science (Hons) from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok and a Master of Economics from the University of Sydney, a Certificate of Economic Development from Japan and a Certificate of Project Appraisal from Oxford University.

He keeps in touch with alumni from his post-graduate studies, especially those from International House, the University of Sydney during his Master of Economics years. He is a keen golfer, gym-goer and occasional short-story writer. He is married with two adult children.

Distinguished Careers:

  • 1980s: Deputy Director-General, the Department of Business Economics and the Department of Foreign Trade.
  • 1990s: Deputy Permanent Secretary, the Ministry of Commerce; Director-General, the Department of Business Economics, responsible for Thailand’s involvement in ASEAN, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and Asia-Europe Meeting, Chair of Senior Economic Officials of ASEAN;
  • His extensive calibre in international trade negotiations was well recognized by his colleagues in many forums.  He actively participated in the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations since its inception to the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995.  He was also engaged in many of Thailand’s bilateral trade negotiations, notably with the United States on significant issues such as textiles and intellectual property rights.
  • 1997 – 1999: Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Thailand to the WTO in Geneva.  During his term in Geneva, he was Chair of the WTO Working Group on Trade and Investment for two terms and Chair of the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements. He oversaw and managed campaign for Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Thailand’s nominee for the position of Director General of the WTO for 1998 – 99.
  • October 1999 – September 2000: Director General of the Department of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce.
  • October 2000 – September 2001: Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce.
  • 2001 – 2003: Advisor to the Prime Minister.
  • March 2003 – February 2005: Vice Minister for Tourism and Sports.
  • 2005: Executive Director of the International Institute for Trade and Development (Public Organization), established jointly in 2001 by UNCTAD and the Government of Thailand.
  • Chief Negotiator for Thailand-EFTA FTA Negotiations, Member of the Board of Trustees of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Member of the Monetary Policy Board, Bank of Thailand and Vice President of the Board of Directors Thai Garments Development Foundation.
  • October 2006 – February 2008: Minister of Commerce.

Achievements:

  • The implementation of key commercial policies including promoting the export of goods and services new markets, developing Thailand to be the ‘kitchen of the world’ together with the exporter of halal goods, supporting bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations and cooperation under various frameworks such as ASEAN, APEC, WTO and FTAs as well as enhancing the competitiveness and marketing capacity for farmers and SMEs.
  • In an effort to improve the connectivity between southern China and Thailand through Lao PDR, he as Minister of Commerce initiated the construction of the 4th Thai-Lao Bridge across the Mae-Kong River in Chiang Kong in the Chiengrai Province, co-sponsored by Thailand and the People’s Republic of China. Inaugurated in 2013, the bridge brings closer not only to the people of Thailand and China but also Asia’s two big economies ASEAN and China.
  • October 2014 to September 2015: a member on the National Reform Council, a body of eminent persons, responsible for reforms, including political and electoral system redesign, economic reform, anti-corruption eradication, education restructuring; the drafting of a new constitution to pave the way for the sustainable and equitable development of Thailand’s political, economic and social systems; and also Chair of the Real Sectors Economic Reform Committee.
  • Since 2015: a member of the Council of State, responsible for the drafting of legislation and interpretation for the Executive arms of the Government.

Private Sector:

  • Since 2001: Advisor to the Mitr Phol Sugar Group, Thailand’s largest sugar producer and the world’s second largest. The Group also has interests in sugar refineries in Northern Queensland, Lao PDR and Indonesia.
  • 2006: Member of the Board of Trustees of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Vice President since 2013.
  • 2006: President of the Board of Directors of the Thai Garments Development Foundation; and since 2011 as Chair of the Foundation.
  • May 2008 – April 2016: Chair of the Thai listed company Banpu PLC that operates coal mines and power plants in Australia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Mongolia and Thailand; and also invests in renewable energy in Japan and oil and gas in the USA.
  • 2010: two three-year terms as Chair of the Thai Institute of Directors (IOD), a non-profit organization that concentrates on directors’ development, good governance and anti-corruption; and also 2013 – 2017: Chair of the IOD.

At a time when Australian business generally was showing little interest in Thailand, the TACCI had a considerable impact in Thailand developing networks with major Thai businesses and senior government officials.

In 1987, the TACCI evolved into the Australia Thailand Business Council (ATBC) as part of a move sponsored by the Australian Government to form bilateral councils between Australia and ASEAN countries under the umbrella of the ASEAN-Australia Business Council.

A significant difference between the TACCI and ATBC has been the bilateral composition of the ATBC’s advisors and personal contacts, compared with the unilateral structure of the TACCI. The formation of the ATBC represented the creation of the first formal link between the private sectors of Australia and Thailand.

In February 2005, the ATBC signed a Memorandum of Understanding in partnership with the Australian Thai Chamber of Commerce (AustCham Thailand). The ATBC also enjoys links through Thailand’s International Trade Committee with the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Thai Industries, and the Thai Bankers’ Association.

Since then, the ATBC has continued to advocate to the Australian and Royal Thai Governments on behalf of the private sector to promote bilateral and investment trade wherever possible, with many success stories.

With new board members in 2022, the ATBC’s strengthened Board is now represented in Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, and Bangkok to provide effective representation and collaboration with its business and government stakeholders.