Companies push for deeper China links

Companies push for deeper China links

Thai businesses say they are eager to forge partnerships and joint ventures with Chinese counterparts, particularly in the areas of fintech, digitalisation, decarbonisation innovations, healthcare, artificial intelligence (AI) and automation.

According to Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce who accompanied Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai on his official visit to Huangshan in China's Anhui Province from April 1-2, the Thai government and business sector discussed the possibility of enhancing trade and economic cooperation while broadening cooperation in new business areas.

"The Thai side wants to see widened cooperation and more joint investments in new business areas, especially future industries such as fintech, digitalisation and high technology, and decarbonisation innovations," said Mr Sanan.

"We also consulted over how to cope with growing challenges from the silver economy -- economic activities linked to older age groups -- which both Thailand and China are encountering, and talked about the possibility of forming joint ventures in healthcare, AI and automation."

He said the Thai Board of Trade together with the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok plan to establish a joint Thai-China task force to study how to tackle the obstacles facing Chinese investment in Thailand.

The task force will also look at how to facilitate Chinese investment here through connectivity between the Eastern Economic Corridor and the Yangtze River Delta, which is a leading economic region of China that includes Anhui Province, said Mr Sanan.

Transport connectivity between the Thai and Chinese rail networks under the Belt & Road Initiative is another issue for study, he said.

Mr Sanan said Thai businesses are keen to learn and apply Chinese technology to upgrade the local trade and industry, especially in agriculture.

China is Thailand's largest trading partner, with bilateral trade between the two countries surging 30.2% in 2021 to US$104 billion.

Of the total, exports from Thailand made up $37.2 billion, an increase of 24.8% from 2020, while imports were valued at $66.5 billion, up 33.6%.

In terms of investment, China was the second-largest foreign investor in Thailand last year after Japan.

As of the third quarter last year, the accumulated value of Chinese investment in Thailand tallied about $8 billion.

In 2021, China submitted 112 projects for investment applications with the Board of Investment valued at $1.21 billion, which was an increase of 25% on the previous year.

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