Russia is adamant about its push for bilateral trade with Thailand reaching US$10 billion (330 billion baht) a year after showing strong interest in investing in the kingdom, says Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit.
Mr Jurin was speaking to the media on Saturday after attending talks with Russia's Minister of Economic Development, Maxim Reshetnikov, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) trade ministers' meeting in Bangkok.
Mr Jurin has been chairing the Apec Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting 2022 in Bangkok which ends today.
He said Russia has pledged to support the goal of raising annual bilateral trade to US$10 billion from US$2.7 billion last year. Russia is Thailand's 30th biggest trade partner. Last year, Thailand exported goods totalling US$1.02 billion to the country, up 41% from the previous year.
Exports to Russia consist mostly of automobiles, auto parts, rubber products and machinery as well as processed and canned fruits. Thailand runs a trade deficit with Russia largely due to its imports of crude oil, fertilisers, herbicides and steel.
Mr Jurin said Thailand and Russia have formed a joint panel on trade and economic cooperation, which has met four times. The next meeting will be hosted by Thailand once a date has been agreed.
Russia is looking to buy more goods from Thailand, said Mr Jurin -- mainly food products, rice, fruits, automobiles and auto parts. The country is also keen to invest more in the field of information technology as many Russian investors are now based in Rayong's Amata industrial estate.
More Thais have also been invited to invest in the food industry in Russia, the commerce minister added.
In addition, Russia has asked Thailand to support the use of the new Russian payment system, or MIR Card, by Russian nationals travelling in the kingdom. The card came into being after Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal suspended their services in Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.
Mr Jurin said progress was being made in that regard as Thai commercial banks are eager to adopt the payment system.