Somkid promises Indian tour for trade ties this year
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak is scheduled to visit India this year to continue boosting bilateral trade and investment.
Mr Somkid, who on Thursday met India's ambassador to Thailand, Suchitra Durai, said he gave his word that he would visit India later this year to cement trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.
The exact schedule for the mission has not been set.
"Both Thailand and India have high potential to increase collaboration, especially on the economic front," Mr Somkid said.
He encouraged India to create a network and connectivity with Southeast Asean nations to align with India's Look East policy.
Mr Somkid also urged India to increase investment in Thailand, particularly in high-potential sectors like automotive engineering, digital and smart technology.
Two-way trade between Thailand and India amounted to US$12.5 billion in 2018, up 20.5% from the previous year. Thai exports made up $7.62 billion, an increase of 17.8%, while imports rose 24.9% to $4.86 billion.
In 2019, the Commerce Ministry aimed for exports to India to grow by 8% from $7.62 billion in 2018.
Investment applications from Indian investors totalled 12 projects worth 194 million baht in 2018. In the first nine months of 2019, Indian applications for 20 projects were worth 778 million baht.
According to a paper prepared by Government House, the fast-growing Indian market remains attractive to Thai investors, given the vast opportunities available in the infrastructure, tourism and retail sectors.
India continues to have an interesting market for the export of goods from Thailand. Thai goods have benefited from a tax reduction under the Asean-India FTA in Goods, which went into effect on Jan 1, 2010.
The Early Harvest Scheme covering 83 products under the proposed India-Thailand FTA, in place since September 2004, has already resulted in huge growth in bilateral trade.
Major Thai exports to India include cars, parts and accessories; automatic data processing machines; jewellery; rubber products; polymers of ethylene and propylene; electronic integrated circuits; machinery and parts; chemical products; refined fuels; rubber, iron, steel and their products; and rice.
Major Thai imports from India include crude oil; machinery and parts; chemicals; jewellery (including gold and silver bars); iron, steel and their products; cars, parts and accessories; and electronic integrated circuits.