Thais, Russians aim for US$10bn in trade by 2023

Thais, Russians aim for US$10bn in trade by 2023

Thailand and Russia have agreed to raise bilateral trade to US$10 billion in 2023, in part to help reboot the economy after the Covid-19 outbreak.

Speaking after Thursday's video conference with Vladimir Ilichev, Russia's deputy minister of the Economic Development Ministry, during the fourth meeting of the subcommission on trade and economic cooperation hosted by Russia, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said the two parties aim to raise two-way trade to $10 billion in 2023 or an average of $3 billion a year.

Russia was Thailand's 30th-largest trading partner last year, with two-way trade amounting to $3.13 billion. Thai exports to Russia totalled $958 million, with key export items including automobiles and parts and rubber, while imports accounted for $2.17 billion, led by crude oil, steel, arms and fertiliser.

In the first nine months of 2020, Russia was Thailand's 28th-largest trading partner, with two-way trade totalling $1.8 billion, down 32.1% from the same period of last year. Exports from Thailand were worth $528.3 million, down 30.7%, with imports worth $1.22 billion, down 32.7% from last year.

According to Mr Jurin, Thailand yesterday urged Russia to help increase imports of Thai agricultural products such as chicken, shrimp and rubber.

Thailand also asked Rostec, Russia's state-owned holding company, to speed up signing a pact with the Rubber Authority of Thailand to strengthen rubber cooperation between the two parties and boost rubber exports.

Mr Jurin said Russia has asked the Thai government to support Mir, a national payment system set up by the central bank of Russia, and the Mir card for use in Thailand to accommodate Russian tourists.

About 1.5 million Russian tourists came to Thailand last year.

According to Mr Jurin, the two countries have agreed to study the possibility of a travel bubble between the two countries in the post-Covid period or during relaxation of lockdown measures.

Russia has also asked relevant authorities of the two countries to cooperate on Covid-19 vaccine development, in which Russia has claimed significant progress.

Mr Jurin said the two nations will also work to promote e-commerce and virtual online trade exhibitions and business matching, plus multilateral cooperation including a free trade agreement between Russia and Asean.

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