PM courts investors in Italy
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PM courts investors in Italy

Srettha on 5-day trip with list of targets

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin visits the factory of Zegna in Valdilana, Italy and holds talks with executives of the Italian fashion house on Friday. (Photo: Thai Government)
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin visits the factory of Zegna in Valdilana, Italy and holds talks with executives of the Italian fashion house on Friday. (Photo: Thai Government)

Thailand and Italy will push for further cooperation in the fields of renewable energy, sports tourism, medical science, pharmaceuticals, and defence, according to deputy government spokeswoman Radklao Intawong Suwankiri.

They will be among the topics for discussion between Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and his Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni to strengthen bilateral ties as the premier is on an official five-day visit to Italy as of Friday.

This year marks the 156th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries, Ms Radklao said.

The prime minister will also invite Italian companies to invest in Thailand's fashion industry, soft power, agricultural technology, food industry, and sustainability-linked bonds, as well as the government's Land Bridge project.

Both sides will share their expertise in GI (geographical indication)-registered products, the promotion of SMEs, the space industry and food sustainability.

Mr Srettha will also push forward key issues such as a Schengen visa waiver for Thai ordinary passport holders, the finalisation of the Thailand-EU FTA negotiations by 2025, and Italy's future employment of Thai workers who have returned from Israel.

Mr Srettha also met yesterday with Carlo Capasa, chairman of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion, Attilio Fontana, the governor of Italy's Lombardy region, and Raffaele Cattaneo, the region's undersecretary for international and European relations.

Mr Srettha visited the Versace fashion house in Milan and held talks with Versace executives, as well as other Italian fashion houses such as Zegna and Loro Piana.

Ms Radklao said the prime minister also brought textile products from the Donkoi Model Project in Sakhon Nakhon to present to those fashion houses as part of efforts to promote local Thai wisdom in traditional indigo dyeing.

The project is an initiative of Her Royal Highness Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya, the spokeswoman said.

Before his visit to Italy, Mr Srettha led a group of Thai business executives to attend the Thailand-France Business Forum in France on Thursday.

He met with French President Emmanuel Macron to follow up on the outcome of their previous meeting, particularly on trade and investment, the defence industry, soft power, and elevating the France-Thailand strategic partnership in accordance with the Roadmap for Thai-French Relations (2022-2024).

Mr Srettha delivered a speech at the forum. Ms Radklao summarised the key points.

The prime minister said France was the first country in Europe he made an official visit to after taking office. His second visit in the span of three months demonstrated the strong relations between the two countries.

Last month, he invited the CEO of Comité Colbert to Thailand to experience first-hand Thai culture and craftsmanship.

According to the PM, Thailand hopes to learn from and collaborate with a powerhouse like France to strengthen its creative economy industries.

He added that top companies from Thailand joined him on this visit, and emphasised that it was his and President Macron's commitment to set the stage for private sector parties to meet, connect and collaborate.

Thailand is France's third-largest trading partner in Asean. Mr Srettha said that under his administration, the country can and should become France's largest partner in the region, Ms Radklao said.

There are around 30,000 Thais living in France while some 40,000 French nationals reside in Thailand, the second-highest number of French expats in Asia.

Last year, about 270,000 tourists from France visited Thailand while France welcomed almost 200,000 Thais.

Recently, the government launched its "Ignite Thailand" vision to establish the country as a global hub in eight sectors, including tourism, wellness & medical, aviation and logistics.

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