Kingdom eager to reconnect
Economic ties vital in post-Covid recovery
Thailand is ready to join efforts to boost regional and global economic cooperation in a post-Covid-19 world, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told a Nikkei Forum event on Thursday.
During the International Conference on the Future of Asia (Nikkei Forum) organised by Nikkei, Gen Prayut delivered his speech on "Shaping the Post-Covid Era: Asia's Role in the Global Recovery" via teleconference at Government House.
He said the Covid-19 outbreak has prompted several countries to fix their weaknesses to get back on their feet, to re-emerge from the pandemic with strength and as quickly as possible.
Countries working together in search of new possibilities and multilateral cooperation is key to turning the crisis into an opportunity and boost the region's capacity to revive itself, Gen Prayut said.
"I am confident that Asia will be able to play a leading role in the global economic recovery with a more vigorous, flexible and sustainable growth," he said. "In particular, a strategic partnership between Thailand and Japan is a vital beginning for a comprehensive recovery."
"Japan has played an important role in the Thai economy for a long time," Gen Prayut added. "Thailand has been committed to improving the business environment for foreign investors."
He said Thailand is ready to act on recommendations made by Japanese companies in Thailand.
These recommendations reportedly include the continuity of economic and investment policies, including the Eastern Economic Corridor scheme; and the development of infrastructure projects such as rail systems
Others are the high-speed train project linking Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi, and U-Tapao airports, upgrading the skills of engineers and experts in key industries; upgrading regulations, particularly customs procedures and corporate income tax; and promoting opportunities for open, free and fair trade.
Gen Prayut revealed Thailand is being urged to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and the government is ready to consider making the move.
He said multilateral cooperation through international and regional frameworks such as Asean, the CPTPP and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade pact has played a key role in a comprehensive recovery.
Gen Prayut added that Thailand will host an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting next year and will initiate talks on the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific plan.
Thailand hopes to receive support to achieve strong, balanced, stable, sustainable and comprehensive growth in the long term, he said.
Thailand will also expand trade and investment ties with Japan, in addition to relations under the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement and the Asean-Japan Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Partnership, he said.
He also expressed support for the safe reopening of borders by ensuring equal access to Covid-19 vaccines.