PM plots green growth path
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PM plots green growth path

Maps out measures at BRF in Beijing

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation attended by international leaders in Beijing on Wednesday. (Photo: Government House)
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation attended by international leaders in Beijing on Wednesday. (Photo: Government House)

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has proposed a path to sustainable development for Thailand, pledging to foster more cooperation with China under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The prime minister, who is now in Beijing, also introduced Thailand's Land Bridge project, urging Chinese investors not to let the project pass them by.

Mr Srettha, who also serves as the finance minister, spoke on Wednesday at a high-level forum dubbed "Green Silk Road for Harmony with Nature" at the 3rd Belt and Road Forum (BRF)for International Cooperation, which is taking place at the China National Convention Center (CNCC).

To realise the vision outlined in the forum title, he proposed Thailand prioritise the following:

First, it is imperative to implement the green transition across all sectors, and promote sustainable production and consumption via all economic activities. This includes transport, energy, and infrastructure.

New technologies and digital transformation will be invaluable to this shift, but their responsible use and equitable access must be ensured, he said.

"For our part, Thailand is actively implementing our long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategy. We have realigned our national energy plan to shift consumption to clean energy, and also promote energy efficiency.

"We aim to increase the production of zero-emission vehicles to 30% by 2030, while encouraging foreign investment in the electric vehicle sector. We also plan to scale up sustainable agronomy to reduce climate change vulnerability and improve farmers' well-being.

"I am optimistic that these policies will help us reach our national targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, and net-zero emissions by 2065,'' he said.

Second, Mr Srettha said Thailand recognises the importance of environmental and ecosystem conservation.

A sketch by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin shows where the Land Bridge project has been designated. He introduced it to a group of Chinese business leaders on the sidelines of the 3rd Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation in Beijing on Tuesday.

He said the country aims to expand green areas up to 55% of the country's total area. As for marine and coastal biodiversity, the nation is committed to the "30 by 30 Target" for protected areas, he said, citing a pledge made at COP15 in Montreal, Canada, in December 2022.

Thailand believes that sustainable blue economy will be crucial to achieve a Green Maritime Silk Road, he added.

Third, an environmentally sound financing mechanism will be an indispensable tool for the green transition. Thailand has raised US$12.5 billion so far by issuing sustainability bonds to fund multiple projects. Soon the government will introduce sustainability linked bonds to boost the green bonds market, Mr Srettha said.

This will also incentivise all entities to support the private sector and MSMEs as they engage in eco-friendly businesses.

Mr Srettha said on the 10th anniversary of the BRI, he commended China for the achievements made under the wildly ambitious scheme. This globe-spanning infrastructure project, still in its early stage, has already brought prosperity to millions of people.

Despite being a relatively small nation, Thailand aims to take lessons from this mega-project and implement these at home where possible, he said.

Just recently, the Thai cabinet affirmed a study and implementation plan for the Land Bridge project. This will connect the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean to the Gulf of Thailand and the Pacific Ocean, improving connectivity in the southern Andaman region. It will also reduce commute times going via the Strait of Malacca.

Government spokesman Chai Wacharonke said on Wednesday that China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC), one of the country's top engineering firms, is interested in joining Thailand's southern Land Bridge megaproject, worth an estimated 1 trillion baht.

CHEC chairman Wang Tongzhou expressed interest during a meeting with Mr Srettha on the sidelines of the BRF.

Mr Srettha welcomed the firm's enthusiasm and urged it to hold talks with the Board of Investment (BOI) to learn more about investment privileges.

He also asked the company to consider opening a regional office in Thailand. The timeline for the project includes an overseas roadshow from November to January to drum up foreign investment. The government plans to open bidding for private sector participation between April and June. The project, a public-private partnership, envisions a logistics network linking Ranong to Chumphon.

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