Italians eye high-speed train, local food ventures

Italians eye high-speed train, local food ventures

Italian State Railways has expressed interest in investing in high-speed trains in Thailand, with the possibility of a joint bid for the concession with CP Group to construct rail links to three airports.

At this year's Italian-Thai Business Forum, Giovanni Roca, senior vice-president of Italian State Railways, said the company is establishing a Thai subsidiary, Italian Railway Thailand, which is involved in the construction of the MRT Orange Line's Eastern Section running from Thai Cultural Centre to Min Buri (Suwintawong).

Taking place in Rome, the forum was hosted by the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC), members of the Thai Board of Trade and the Italian Embassy in Thailand, comprising 23 companies from both countries in a number of sectors such as machinery, the bio-economy, food and agriculture, tourism, furniture, design, finance, construction, transport and education.

Jiraphant Asvatanakul, president of Thaivivat Insurance, said the company is in the process of implementing a partnership school project between Thailand and Italy. Phase 1 of the project started in 2018 with 15 Thai companies. Phase 2 will start this year, and the TCC has invited Italian companies based in Thailand to join.

At the forum, Isara Vongkusolkit, senior chairman of the TCC and the Board of Trade, and chairman of Mitr Phol sugar group, said the government has policies in place to support the production of high-quality food products, with tax breaks for factories. He considers this an opportunity for Italian companies as Italy has both production technology and expertise in food exports.

"Italian, Thai and European food is popular globally, and there is an opportunity for an Italian culinary school in Thailand," he said.

In separate news, Tawatchai Gittisriboongul, director of global accounts management at Thai Airways Plc (THAI), confirmed the airline would maintain its Bangkok-Milan and Bangkok-Rome routes, while the government will support tourism to secondary cities in the North and South.

THAI also held a meeting with Cremonini Group on cooperation with THAI's sky kitchens.

Busaba Chirathivat, executive vice-president of corporate communications at Central Group, said the Rinascente department store in Rome, under the management of Central Group, has been very popular with tourists, who account for 50% of traffic in the store.

Rinascente Turin is being refurbished, and is expected to be complete in October this year.

The Doi Tung Showcase for craft clothing from communities in the development projects of Doi Tung, Chiang Rai took place at Rinascente Milan in April. The villages are royal projects of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The next Italian-Thai business forum will be held in Thailand in May 2020.

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