Comprehensive Korea partnership on trade, science in the works

Thailand is considering a joint study into the possibility of a comprehensive strategic partnership with South Korea in a bid to raise the value of annual bilateral trade to US$30 billion in five years.

Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom met with South Korean Knowledge Economy Minister Hong Suk-woo yesterday, saying the partnership will be comprehensive, covering a free trade agreement and cooperation on politics, economics, culture and science.

Thailand asked South Korea to open its market for Thai frozen chicken after the EU lifted its ban on Thai products in July.

Bangkok and Seoul sealed a deal in March to exchange technical support on water management, trade, investment and nuclear energy research as well as raising the value of annual bilateral trade to $30 billion (919 billion baht) by 2016 during Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's four-day trip to South Korea.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak arrived in Bangkok yesterday for summit talks with the Thai premier today.

The summit is expected to centre on ways to expand trade, investment and other substantial cooperation.

The sides also plan to sign a memorandum of understanding to upgrade their ties to a "strategic partnership", officials said.

Trade between South Korea and Thailand reached an all-time high of $13.9 billion last year.

Mr Lee also plans to tour the Chao Phraya River and Khlong Lat Pho today in a move seen as underlining South Korea's willingness to share its water management experience and know-how.

Thailand is working on a massive 350-billion-baht project to build a large-scale water management system after last year's devastating floods.

The bidding process is under way for the project, with 34 bidders applying and eight of them including two involving South Korean firms passing a preliminary qualification test.

The successful bidder is expected to be determined around next April.

About the author

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Writer: Phusadee Arunmas
Position: Business Reporter