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March 16, 2009

Thai PM to talk trade, investment with during China visit late March

Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is scheduled to pay an official visit to China late March to discuss plans to increase trade, investment and tourism as agreed between the two countries earlier, Thai News Agency quoted an official as saying.

Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office, Virachai Virameteekul said that the upcoming visit to China by Abhisit is aimed at forging terms of an earlier agreement, guaranteeing in the process that the agreement can be honoured despite recent political changes in Thailand.

Both countries would benefit from such an accord, Virachai, adding that officials of the Thai Commerce Ministry visited China late February when Chinese authorities reaffirmed that Beijing had no policy or trade protectionist measures preventing the routine importation of Thai farm products.

Thailand plans to exhibit its fruit produce, especially longan, in five Chinese cities between late March and April. Expenditure for the nationwide promotion has been budgeted at an estimated 85 million baht.

China, on the other hand, wants to invest in major infrastructure projects in Thailand and has already expressed a willingness to extend loans worth $400 million for a mass transit project in Thailand, Virachai said.

Two-way trade between Thailand and China was valued between $30-35 billion in 2008. The two countries previously agreed that combined trade in 2011 would reach $50 billion while Chinese investment in Thailand would reach $6.5 billion.

The number of Chinese tourists visiting the Kingdom by then was projected at about three million per annum.


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