British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (Source: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab travelled to Thailand on July 31 to attend a meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers in Bangkok to seek new trade opportunities and stronger diplomatic ties ahead of the country’s exit from the European Union (Brexit).

This is the first overseas trip of Raab since his appointment to the post last week.

Speaking ahead of his trip, Raab said that the UK’s trade focus has been on Europe for too long. Therefore, the trip aimed at grasping the enormous global opportunities for the UK, he said.

Two-way trade between the UK and ASEAN reaches 36 billion pounds (43.8 billion USD) a year, and there are opportunities for the country to boost bilateral trade to benefit British businesses and consumers, he added.

According to new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the UK is due to leave the EU on October 31 regardless of whether it has a transition deal to preserve trade arrangements with the bloc.

Critics said that would badly disrupt the flow of goods with the EU - its largest trade partner. However, advocates of Brexit have long argued that one of the biggest benefits of leaving the EU will be an ability to strike new bilateral trade deals rather than relying on agreements with the EU.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.-VNA