Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is on a trip to Europe where she has urged the Belgian private sector to take part in investment in Thailand’s mega infrastructure projects. The Prime Minister has assured Swedish investors about Thailand’s vast investment opportunities under the government national development strategies towards the emergence of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.
Thai PM Yingluck is on official visits to Sweden & Belgium during 4-7 March to promote Thailand among Europeans investors. During a meeting with her Belgian counterpart Elio Di Rupo, the Thai premier said Thailand has enjoyed political and economic stability, and a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6.4 per cent.
US$66 billion mammoth Thai government projects
Investment opportunities are vast in Thailand given its potential as a gateway for European Union countries to the Southeast Asian region and the US$66 billion mammoth Thai government projects involving transport, telecommunications and energy, she said.
She asked the Belgian prime minister to consider Schengen visa waivers for Thai passport holders to promote tourism between the two countries. Ms Yingluck made a similar request to the Swedish leader during her visit to Stockholm yesterday.
The Thai and Belgian premiers agreed in principle to exchange knowledge on medical science, food safety, innovative technology, high-level research and development and logistics to boost Thailand’s competitive edge.
Ms Yingluck said the March 17-22 visit to Thailand by Crown Prince Philippe of Belgium and the Belgian business community will strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
A joint action plan may be signed during the Crown Prince’s visit to enhance bilateral cooperation in various aspects.
Later today Ms Yingluck is scheduled to meet with Jose Manuel Barroso, European Commission president when they will announce the enforcement of the Thai-European Union Free Trade Agreement.
A Thai delegation comprising off public and private sectors, led by Ms Yingluck, began visiting Sweden and Belgium on Monday and will conclude tomorrow. (MCOT online news)
The strength of Thai exports has led to substantial trade surpluses with the EU
Each year, the value of Thai exports to the EU has been roughly double that of Thai imports from the Community. This has significantly helped strengthen Thailand’s external account and contributed to the GDP which depends heavily on external incomes (approx. 70%).
The Prime Minister has assured Swedish investors about Thailand’s vast investment opportunities under the government’s national development strategies towards the emergence of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.
During this week’s official visit to Europe, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra attended a Thailand-Sweden investment promotion event, which was also joined by Mrs. Ewa Bjorling, Swedish Minister of Trade.
At the event, the Thai Premier has spoken to the participants about the country’s political stability and strong economic condition, which she assured, will continue under the national development strategies to help it become the connecting hub of ASEAN.
PM Yingluck stressed that such plans are offering various investment opportunities, in which Thailand and Sweden can mutually be benefited.
According to the Prime Minister, Thai-Swedish trade and investment rose from 700 million kroners to 911 million kroners in 2012.
The Premier added that, while last year’s GDP growth was at 6.4%, the Thai government is determined to maintain the growth rate at 4-5% over the long term while working hard to promote the country’s agricultural and industrial sectors.
Trade between the EU and Thailand is considerable, amounting to approximately €27 billion (1.15 trillion Baht) in 2010. The EU is Thailand’s second largest export market, after the ASEAN. In 2010, exports from Thailand to the EU totalled some €17 billion (approx. 725 billion Baht).
The strength of Thai exports has led to substantial trade surpluses with the EU. During the period 2007-2009 Thailand’s annual trade surplus with the EU stood on average at around €5.5 billion per annum (approx. 220 billion Baht).
Notably, more than half of Thai exports entering the EU receive preferential treatment either via Most Favoured Nation (MFN) or partial or full tariff elimination granted under the EU’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP). Thailand is also the second largest GSP beneficiary among EU’s trade partners behind India.
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