Somkid talks up Sino-Thai trade at expo
Shanghai: Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak has vowed to support China's policy on global free and fair trade and also pledged to push on with strengthening economic ties.
Mr Somkid, who oversees the country's economic team, made the assertions as he gave a speech at the Hongqiao International Economic and Trade Forum at a session on trade and investment at Shanghai's National Exhibition and Convention Centre on Monday.
He also visited the headquarters of Spring Airline, a major carrier of Chinese tourists to Thailand. He said the airline had promised to cooperate with measures by Thai Airways International, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Airports of Thailand to try to resuscitate the receding Chinese tourist market.
On Wednesday, marine teams are expected to raise the sunken Phoenix diving boat off Phuket. It sank in July, carrying 47 tourists to their deaths, triggering a Chinese revulsion to tours in Thailand.
China is hosting its first China International Import Expo (CIIE). It began Monday and runs until Saturday.
The CIIE is being attended by representatives from 172 countries. China is expected to import US$30 trillion of trade and $10 trillion of services over the next 15 years.
"Now is the 'century of Asia', with the spotlight shining on Asia and China," Mr Somkid told the forum.
He said China's Belt and Road Initiative is playing an important role in linking the country with devleoping Asean nations and played up Thailand's ability to contribute.
"Thailand is ready to support the constructive role China is playing [in the region] as part of its bid to create global economic stability," he said.
He also told the forum that Thailand has launched the Thailand 4.0 initiative as part of its digital economy policy with the goal of overcoming the middle-income trap en route to becoming a fully developed country.
The minister hailed the Thai government's launch of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) to draw investment from around the world in Rayong, Chachoengsao and Chon Buri provinces.
So far, he said, investors have submitted 822 projects worth US$20 billion to invest in the EEC.
"Next year will be the golden year for EEC investment," he said.
Later on, Mr Somkid met executives from Huawei Technology and ZTE Corporation and called on them to invest in Thailand's emerging digital economy, which he said will make great strides next year.
"Thailand needs investment in technology and the government is ready to offer the highest promotional privileges," he said.