ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Yingluck’s China visit to further boost Sino -Thai ties
31 March, 2012
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will visit China in April and sign among others agreements on sale of agricultural products and economic cooperation for the next five years, Guan Mu, China's ambassador to Thailand, said yesterday.
He was delivering his keynote speech at the Bangkok Bank Knowledge Talk series.
Yingluck will travel to Beijing on April 17. Among the agreements to be signed are a memorandum of understanding on economic cooperation for five years and China's purchase of Thai agricultural products such as rice, rubber, and corn, said the ambassador.
"Thailand also is going to buy 800,000 [computer] tablets from China. The amount may not be huge but the most important thing is how education will develop in the future," he said, referring to the Thai government plan to buy tablets for pupils.
The two sides are also discussing investments in high-speed rail lines: Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Bangkok to Nong Khai, Bangkok to Rayong and Bangkok to Padang Besar, he said.
The railroad is about 1,000 kilometres, which is not very long when compared with projects in China, he said. For example, the high-speed rail linking Shanghai and Beijing is 1,300 kilometres. He said he had learned from top Thai officials that the government wants to start investments in the high-speed rail project this year.
If so, the main high-speed line is likely to be completed within five years, the ambassador said.
He also projected that Chinese tourists coming to Thailand this year may reach 2 million, following 1.7 million last year.
Chinese visitors could rise to between 4 million and 5 million in the next five to 10 years, as Chinese are getting richer, he said.
He said the Chinese government planned to achieve gross domestic product growth of 7.5 per cent this year. It may be lower when compared with the previous growth rates of more than 9 per cent over the past 30 years, he said. He explained that a lower growth rate is needed as the government wants to improve the quality of growth and make it sustainable.
China will also create domestic demand as it would make economic growth more sustainable, he said. "We were not ready to rely on domestic demand in the past 10 to 20 years, but now we are ready," said Mu.
He said China is confident of catching up with the US in the next 10 to 15 years in terms of economic size as some research houses have predicted. The size of the Chinese economy surpassed Germany in 2008 and overtook Japan, previously the world's second-largest economy, in 2010, he said.
Li Zhimin, former chairman of the supervisory board of large state-owned enterprises under the State Council, said private enterprises and individual businesses in China have grown rapidly in the 30 years after China opened its economy.
He said the number of state-owned enterprises currently is less than one-twentieth of the total businesses. However, 58 state-owned firms are among the top 500 global firms, he said.
Meanwhile, Xiang Siying, executive director of CDH Investment, said the private equity market in China was still a very small segment but it is growing very fast.
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