A Brief History : The South African-Thai Chamber of Commerce
Diplomatic ties between South African and Thailand were established in 1993. Shortly thereafter the then South African Ambassdor, HE Roel Goris, together with South Africans living in Thailand, Thai and other friends of South Africa in Bangkok, started a social club. The club, known as Jabulani, is currently flourishing with around 250 members. It became apparent that many business members of Jabulani were keen to promote business links between the two countries.
Growing business interest was also confirmed by the economic office of the South African Embassy and the idea of some sort of formal business group was born. With assistance from the South African Embassy, a few functions were held during 1994 to determine how much support would be generated and sustained for the formation of either a Business Association or a Chamber of Commerce. There was indeed great interest, not only from those with South African connections, but particularly from Thai companies eager to do business with South Africa. In the light of the great interest expressed by the business community in Thailand, the 18 members of the ad-hoc steering committee, which included the Economic Counsellor at the South African Embassy, decided to set up a Chamber of Commerce instead of a Business Association. Legal proceedings to establish the Chamber were started in March 1995 and the South African-Thai Chamber of Commerce (SATCC) was registered on 9th June 1995. The first Annual General Meeting was held on the 25th September 1995. Ron Endley, a Thailand resident, was elected as the Chamber’s 1st president. We were now a fully functional and legal Foreign Chamber of Commerce in Thailand and our membership is growing. The Annual General Meeting held on the 15th October 1996 marked the beginning of the second year of the Chamber’s existence, at which event we welcomed the newly appointed South African Ambassador to Thailand, HE John Janse van Rensbug. Since then the Chamber has continued to function and maintain as ever expanding membership. The Chamber acts as a contact, resource and information point for South African businesses in Thailand, South African businesses wishing to trade with or invest in Thailand—and similarly for Thai enterprises interested in doing business with or in South Africa. It aims to provide quality and constructive input into the formulation of policies impacting on business (both by the Thai and South African Governments), and their administration, and to contribute to the development of relations between the two countries in all spheres. The SATCC is a member of the Board of Trade of Thailand and its President is automatically a Director of the Board of Trade.