Thailand on Saturday held talks with China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region about making use of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor (ILSTC) to scale up trade cooperation between the two countries.
Guangxi Zhuang is an autonomous region in South China and bordering Vietnam; ILSTC is a trade and logistics passage with an operational hub centred in Chongqing.
The route for the corridor is the railway from Chongqing to ports at the Beibu Gulf in Guangxi like the port of Qinzhou.
Speaking after meeting Lan Tianli, chairman of Guangxi Zhuang, Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai said Guangxi Zhuang is in a prime location considering its connection with Vietnam both by land and sea.
The minister is in Nanning, China for the 20th China-Asean Expo (CAEXPO), running until Monday. The trade discussions between him and the Guangxi Zhuang chairman were conducted on the sidelines.
The Chinese autonomous region is equipped with a convenient land and marine transport system. Thailand could transport more goods to China through this region, he said.
The products, particularly Thai fruits, could arrive in China faster and remain fresh for Chinese consumers, thanks to the convenient transport system brought about by the Chinese autonomous region, he said.
China has been considered Thailand's number-one trade partner over the past 11 years. Last year Thailand recorded 1.19 trillion baht in exports to China. From January until the end of July this year, that figure reached 695.51 billion baht.
Products exported to China include rubber products, products made of cassava and plastic pellets, while products imported into Thailand include electrical machines, mechanical machines, chemicals, electric appliances and computers.
The total trade value between Thailand and Guangxi Zhuang in particular stood at 153 billion baht last year, with Thailand exporting goods worth 75 billion baht to the Chinese autonomous region. That accounted for 6.3% of all exports Thailand made to China during the period.
Mr Phumtham said he and the Guangxi Zhuang chairman had also discussed improving the region's economic development while continuing to strengthen trade, investment and logistics cooperation between Guangxi Zhuang and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand and the Board of Investment of Thailand.
Mr Phumtham also explained to Chinese officials the details of a new visa waiver for Chinese visitors entering Thailand which he said would benefit the trade and investment between Thailand and China.