Thai and Italian business leaders meet to enhance relations

Thai and Italian business leaders meet to enhance relations

Business leaders in attendance at the 8th Italian-Thai Business Forum which took place on Jan 12 in Chiang Mai.
Business leaders in attendance at the 8th Italian-Thai Business Forum which took place on Jan 12 in Chiang Mai.

Business leaders have been participating in trade negotiations at the eighth edition of the Italian-Thai business forum.

Organised as a collaboration between the Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade of Thailand and the Italian Embassy in Thailand, the forum gathered business leaders representing 25 companies in Italy and Thailand from various sectors such as energy, industrial machinery, aviation, finance and insurance.

Busaba Chirathivat, co-chair of the forum, said Thailand and Italy have had a long and fruitful relationship based on trade, investment, and tourism.

In particular, the reopening of Thailand following the pandemic has improved relations between the two countries.

Ms Busaba, who is also executive vice-president for corporate communications at Central Group, said that since 2015 the Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade of Thailand and the Italian Embassy have been hosting the Italian-Thai business forum. It aims to support business cooperation and act as a forum for representatives from the private sector and the trade associations of each country to consult and nurture cooperation.

Italy is Thailand's 24th largest trading partner.

According to data from the Department of International Trade Promotion, from January to November 2022, trade between Thailand and Italy was worth US$4.5 billion, representing 13% growth.

This is divided into an export value of around $1.88 billion and import value of around $2.62 billion.

"The figures illustrate the continuous growth of Thai-Italian trade and additional opportunities for sustainable growth," said Ms Busaba.

Sra Chuenchoksan, assistant governor for monetary policy at the Bank of Thailand, said that over the last year the expansion of exports and government stimulus measures have been key factors in reviving national economic growth.

There has still been a slowdown in the tourism sector and an impact from geopolitical disputes.

Mr Sra pointed out that economic woes, the possibility of new Covid-19 variants, and more supply chain disruptions due to geopolitical disputes are critical factors in the future.

Tanita Sirisup, director of foreign investment marketing at the Board of Investment (BOI), reiterated that the growth of businesses and infrastructure to support health, protect the environment and assist in digital transformation is a priority in the BOI's five-year investment strategy.

It is also the BOI's mission to make Thailand a hub for the creative economy, technology, and the bio-circular-green (BCG) economy.

Kasemsit Pathomsak, executive chairman of Merchant Partners Asset Management, said Thailand had successfully hosted the 2022 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit, the Apec Business Advisory Council, and the Apec CEO Summit.

The meetings built trust and confidence among foreign investors in Thailand with the concept of the BCG economic model for sustainable economic growth.

Paolo Magri, executive vice-president of the Italian Institute for International Political Studies, said the geopolitical effects of the Russia-Ukraine war and tensions between China and the US had been extremely challenging for the global economy.

He said both of these conflicts should be closely monitored for their impact on trade, supply chains, energy and inflation.

At the Italian-Thai business forum, the Italian delegation included Italmobiliare, CIS Sicily & Unicitrus, Cavagna Group Asia, CNH, Danieli, Ducati, Ferrero, Intesa Sanpaolo, Pirelli, SAIPEM, the Italian Export Credit Agency (SACE), and Vittoria.

The Thai side was represented by Central Group, Bangkok Bank, Global Power Synergy, Innova Rubber, Merchant Partners Asset Management, Singha Corporation, Thai Summit, Betagro, PTT, SCG Logistics Management, Thai Airways International, Thai Vivat Insurance, Allied Metals, and Graphene Creations.

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