French PM says EU is out of the woods
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault Tuesday assured Thai businesses that Europe's monetary problems are behind it and said European economies are on a growth path.
- Published: 6/02/2013 at 12:08 AM
- Newspaper section: topstories
In his remarks to Thai business leaders Tuesday, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said all of Europe's monetary problems have been solved and growth is poised to return. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
"I think the atmosphere has eased and the concerns of six or eight months ago are not the same," Mr Ayrault told a Bangkok seminar hosted by the Franco-Thai Chamber of Commerce.
"The euro is the strongest currency in the world, but it was attacked a few months ago by the accumulation of public debt in a lot of countries."
- See also: France, Thailand sign 5 MoUs
He said France is committed to a balanced budget, because it seeks to avoid a debt problem like Greece's.
"We want to ensure solidarity within European countries," said Mr Ayrault.
"I am here to address a message of confidence to you that all the monetary problems in Europe are solved and we are on the path to growth. You have to be confident in our determination."
At the same event, French Foreign Trade Minister Nicole Bricq urged Thailand and France to hasten free trade negotiations between Thailand and the EU, focusing on the transport, infrastructure and energy sectors. More than 7,000 French investors are in Thailand, more than twice the 2005 figure.
Jean-Marie Pithon, chief executive of the France-based Dextra Asia, said the cost of running the company's two plants in Thailand is half what it would be in Singapore and Hong Kong, allowing the company to maintain competitiveness.
Production is even cheaper than in China, where Dextra has another plant.
France is one ofThailand's biggest European trade partners, with bilateral trade surging 21% from 123 billion baht in 2011 to 150 billion last year.
Imports from France rose by more than half to 100 billion last year.
Also atthe seminar,Kittiratt Na-Ranong said many French firms do business in Thailand, mainly in the tourism, energy and industry sectors.
The deputy prime minister and finance minister said Thailand's logistics will provide greater cost efficiency, as the government plans to spend more than US$65 billion over the next seven years to build infrastructure and urban mass transit, with three-quarters of the budget going to rail systems.
Jean Lebreton, a senior vice-president of Thai Beverage, said ThaiBev has mulled investing in France since last year, as the country not only is a major producer of wine and other alcoholic beverages but also has high consumption figures.
French premier visits: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra walks beside her French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault as he inspects a guard of honour at Government House Tuesday. The French prime minister is on an official visit to Thailand. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
About the author
- Writer: Nanchanok Wongsamuth
- Position: News Reporter