Sino-Thai Economic and Trade Cooperation promotes the in-depth Development of the Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership between the two countries
From November 2 to 5, Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council went to Thailand to attend a series of East Asian cooperation leaders' meetings and paid an official visit to Thailand. This is the third time that Prime Minister Li Keqiang has visited Thailand in his capacity as prime minister, holding formal talks with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth and meeting with Chuan Lippai, chairman of the Thai Parliament and speaker of the House of Commons.
In recent years, with the personal concern and promotion of the leaders of the two countries, the content of Sino-Thai economic and trade cooperation has been continuously enriched, the field has been continuously expanded, and the level has been continuously improved.
First, the scale of bilateral trade continues to expand
In 2018, bilateral trade volume was US $87.5 billion, an increase of 9.2 per cent over the same period last year. From January to September 2019, it reached $66.4 billion, maintaining the momentum of growth. Since 2013, China has maintained Thailand's largest trading partner, with an increasing wealth of imports and exports between the two countries, and Thailand's rice, rubber and tropical fruits have been welcomed by Chinese consumers. Cross-border e-commerce cooperation provides new opportunities to promote the development of bilateral trade.
Second, the level of investment cooperation has improved significantly.
China is already the third largest source of foreign investment in Thailand, second only to the United States and Japan. By the end of September 2019, China had invested a total of US $8.5 billion in Thailand. Chinese ecommerce companies have landed in Thailand. Major infrastructure cooperation projects, such as the China-Thailand Railway, are progressing smoothly, and upon completion will be conducive to promoting regional connectivity and economic and social development along the line.
Third, the cooperation between the three parties is advancing steadily.
The two sides are taking the construction of the "Eastern Economic Corridor" in Thailand as a platform to support enterprises of the two countries to explore and promote practical cooperation with enterprises of Japan and other countries in accordance with commercial principles. Located in the development center of the economic corridor in eastern Thailand, the Luoyong Industrial Park has become the highlight of the overseas economic and trade cooperation zone established by China in ASEAN countries, and has provided a favorable platform for China and Thailand to promote tripartite cooperation. The two sides will also give full play to their advantages and actively explore mutually beneficial cooperation under the framework of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area and the construction of a new land-sea channel, so as to attract other interested countries to participate together.
Fourth, people-to-people and scientific and technological exchanges are getting closer.
China has been the largest source of Thai tourists for many years. The number of Chinese tourists to Thailand exceeded 10 million for the first time in 2018, accounting for about 28 per cent of the total number of foreign tourists to Thailand. The two sides have further strengthened exchanges and cooperation in the fields of agriculture, finance, science and technology, education, e-commerce and intellectual property rights. The prospects for the development of economic and trade relations between the two countries are very bright, and the road of cooperation is getting wider and wider.
During the visit, the two sides reached broad consensus on strengthening the docking of development strategies between the two countries, jointly building "Belt and Road Initiative" with high quality, and expanding cooperation in the fields of trade and investment, infrastructure and production capacity. The two countries will promote innovative cooperation between enterprises of the two countries in the fields of agriculture, finance, science and technology, education, e-commerce and intellectual property rights. The two sides also agreed to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation within the framework of connectivity, Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, the new land and sea channel, and the Thai "Eastern Economic Corridor." Next year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Thailand. The two sides will take this opportunity to continue to promote bilateral relations and practical cooperation between the two countries.