Thailand and China have agreed to further boost economic ties during a high-level visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiaboa to Bangkok.
Analysts say the visit, following soon after that of U.S. President Barack Obama, highlights increased interest in Southeast Asia’s positive economic outlook.
Talks between Wen and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Wednesday were intended to build on a major trading agreement between China and Thailand, announced in April this year.
Under the pact set out for five years, the governments agree to ambitious targets to expand trade and investment, as well as tourism, aiming to raise bilateral trade up to 15 percent a year.
During the visit, several important documents involving relations between the two countries had been signed. Among them are the Agreement on Educational Cooperation, the second five-year Joint Action Plan on Thailand-China Strategic Cooperation for 2012-2016, the Memorandum of Understanding MOU on Agricultural Trade Cooperation, and a five-year development plan for 2012-2016 under the Agreement on Expanding and Deepening Bilateral Economic and Trade Cooperation.
China is one of Thailand’s major trading partners. Thai-Chinese trade amounted to 64.7 billion US dollars in 2011.
Both countries are seeking ways to achieve the bilateral trade target of 100 billion dollars by 2015. Chinese tourists visiting Thailand in 2012 are likely to reach two million, against 1.7 million recorded in 2011. Bangkok, Pattaya, and Kanchanaburi have been listed as popular tourist destinations among Chinese visitors to Thailand.