Thailand’s Minister of Commerce has spoken with Sputnik on the development of economic ties with Russia, as well as a potential free trade area with the Eurasian Economic Union.
DA NANG (Sputnik), Anastasia Sedelnikova – Thailand’s Minister of Commerce Apiradi Tantraporn told Sputnik that she expects a visit of a Russian delegation in early 2018 that would focus on the possible Russian investments in the Eastern Economic Corridor.
“I met with your [Russian] Deputy Minister [of Economic Development Alexei] Gruzdev and we discussed the possibility of him leading a business delegation to Thailand to see the opportunities for Russian investment in Eastern Economic Corridor and in general expanding trade relations between our countries. That visit might happen early next year,” Tantraporn said on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Week in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang.
According to her, the future Russian business delegation may include potential investors, adding, “It’s very important that chambers of commerce of Russia and Thailand, that they have direct connection.”
The Eastern Economic Corridor, a project focuses on developing three eastern provinces of Thailand, Chonburi, Rayong, and Chachoengsao, turning them into a hub for technological manufacturing and services with strong connectivity to other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), would help to develop modern industrial production such as robotic industry, the minister stated.
Russia and Thailand set a target to increase bilateral trade five times by 2020. The Thai minister of commerce said she sees a great potential for developing trading ties between Bangkok and Moscow and that Thailand may contribute to ensuring food security in Russia.
Potential Free Trade Deal With EAEU
Apiradi Tantraporn told Sputnik that she hopes for a quick completion of the feasibility study of a possible free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).
“We discussed it [Thai bid to sign free trade deal with the EAEU] with your Deputy [Economic Development] Minister [Alexei Gruzdev] and he is also supportive of Thailand effort. We started doing the feasibility study and I hope that it will not take too long as it’s in the interest of all the countries of the Eurasian [Economic Union] and Thailand,” Tantraporn said.
She pointed out that the letter of intent on starting free trade deal talks had already been sent by Thailand to the Eurasian Economic Union, an international organization for regional economic integration comprising Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.