ON this day each year, the Thai people express their deep reverence for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. This feeling derives from their gratitude for His Majesty's self-sacrificing attitude and dedication to working for the benefits and happiness of his subjects. Next year, His Majesty will have reigned for 50 years. The national celebrations to commemorate this occasion are being held until the end of next year. The highlights will take place on June 9, 1996, which marks the Golden Jubilee of His Majesty's accession to the throne. A variety of activities are also to be organised by Thai embassies and consulates around the world, so as to allow the Thai community overseas, including Hong Kong, to celebrate the event. Traditionally, trade and investment are two central pillars in Thailand-Hong Kong relations. Our private sectors, particularly the banking sector, have long played a significant role in helping to build up this strong partnership. The Hongkong and Shanghai Bank has had a presence in Bangkok even before World War II. The Bangkok Bank opened its first two branches here in 1947, two years prior to the establishment of the Royal Thai Consulate-General. The opening of their offices have contributed to the growing flow of business between the two regions. Our bilateral trade has grown considerably over the past five years. The trade volume totalled US$27.17 billion last year. It amounted to US$19.15 billion in the first seven months of this year, or a 29 per cent increase over the same period last year. In terms of cumulative investment, Hong Kong ranked the second-biggest foreign investor in Thailand after Japan, with a cumulative value of US$2.06 billion between 1985-94. Despite the fact that its investment has been on the decline since its peak in 1990, Hong Kong is still deemed an important source of foreign investment. Taking advantage of Hong Kong's position as an international financial centre and its strategic location as a gateway to China, a number of Thai companies have set up branch offices here. Four major Thai banks, for example, opened branches in the territory to serve the growing business activities between Thailand and China. Even though some of them are now permitted to set up a representative office in Chinese cities, they still maintain their Hong Kong office. In view of Hong Kong's ideal location, sound infrastructure and excellent worldwide telecommunications links, as well as its long-established 'real' open-market policy, I am confident that Hong Kong will continue to be a regional base for multinational corporations beyond 1997. On this auspicious occasion, may I express, on behalf of the people and Government of Thailand, my best wishes for the happiness, prosperity and promising future of the Hong Kong people.