MoU covering three sectors targeted with France
Thailand is pursuing closer cooperation with France on future industries, transport and smart city development, as part of the countries' economic partnership efforts.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said a memorandum of understanding outlining cooperation in the three sectors is expected to be signed soon between the two.
Francois Corbin, president of the International Movement of French Enterprises (Medef), along with other members yesterday paid a courtesy call to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha as part of their Oct 11-13 visit to explore trade and investment opportunities in Thailand.
"The sectors French investors have shown their interest to conform with the government's policy to promote the 10 targeted clusters," said Mr Somkid. "Thailand is also eager to ask French businesses to support Thailand in resuming the Thai-EU free trade agreement."
Negotiations for the Thai-EU FTA were formally launched on March 6, 2013. The goal was a comprehensive FTA covering tariffs, non-tariff barriers and other trade-related issues such as services, investment, procurement, intellectual property, regulatory issues, competition and sustainable development.
However, talks were suspended after the May 22, 2014 coup.
Last June, the EU said it would delay signing an agreement on closer economic and political ties, and demanded a swift return to democracy.
The Thai government has flagged 10 clusters, targeted to form an S-shaped economy, categorised as existing industry (first S-curve) and future industry (new S-curve).
The first S-curve comprises five industrial clusters: next-generation automotive, smart electronics, quality tourism, agriculture/biotechnology and food processing. The new S-curve consists of robotics, aviation/logistics, biofuels/biochemicals, digital economy and medical hub.
Mr Somkid said French investors are also potential partners in smart city development, through the usage and transfer of digital and high technology.
France is Thailand's 20th largest trading partner in the world and the fourth largest in the EU.