PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday held separate |meetings with the leaders of Papua New Guinea and Colombia on the sidelines of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit in Manila. They agreed to boost bilateral cooperation on trade, fisher
Deputy Government Spokesman Werachon Sukondhapatipak said Prayut told Papua New Guinea PM Peter O’Neill that both countries should expand cooperation to cover more fields, including agricultural products and fishery.
O’Neill focused on Thai rice, saying his country wished to get suggestions on rice growing in order to develop opportunities in Papua New Guinea.
Prayut thanked O’Neill for his country’s faith in Thai rice and assured him that Thai rice has |the best quality in the world. Prayut asked Papua New Guinea |to consider buying other kinds of agricultural products from Thailand.
They also agreed to cooperate more on fishery as the Thai side has expertise and experience while Papua New Guinea is rich in fishing resources.
Werachon said Bangkok wished to see Port Moresby become the centre for distribution of Thai fishery products, and Thai fishery-related businesses could also invest in the country.
Prayut also welcomed and felt honoured that Papua New Guinea intended to open its embassy in Bangkok.
The meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos touched on the readiness of both countries to increase cooperation in politics, economy, science, technology and education.
Prayut told Santos that Bangkok is ready to promote mutual trade and investment with Colombia particularly on tourism, energy and natural resources.
He invited representatives of Colombian business sectors to Thailand and proposed the setting up a Thai-Colombian Business Council and Free Trade Area.
“Colombia was told that it has the potential to be a bridge linking Thailand and other Latin American countries. The Colombian president also viewed Thailand as Colombia’s gateway to Asean countries,” Werachon said.
Both countries should upgrade their relations by setting up a joint committee that would be co-chaired by foreign ministers, they said.
Prayut also thanked Santos for showing understanding on political developments in Thailand.
Meanwhile, Thailand and the United States have agreed to conduct parallel trade and investment cooperation talks after the US has finalised its negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during the next two years to promote economic growth for both sides.
In addition, Thailand and Russia will also strengthen trade and investment cooperation in particular on two-way investment promotion to drive economic growth.
The agreement came on Tuesday following talks between Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn and US Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman, and between Apiradi and Russian Minister of Economic Development Alexey Valentinovich Ulyukayev in Manila.
Apiradi said that the US has agreed to conduct parallel talks with Thailand in promoting trade and investment since Thailand has not yet joined the TPP.
“During the next two years |while completing the TPP documents, Thailand still has time to develop rules and laws before joining the TPP. The US, which is the leader of the TPP, will also help Thailand increase trade and |investment under the Trade and Investment Framework Agree-ment,” she said.
To prepare for the TPP, Apiradi said that the US urged Thailand |to amend and adjust trade and investment laws and regulations to be in accordance with the World Trade Organisation’s rules so that| it will make Thailand more attractive for foreign traders and investors. Thailand has also been encouraged to develop intellectual property rights protection, as well as stringent enforcement of laws to punish violations.
Meanwhile, Thailand has encouraged Russia to sign a contract for the purchase of 80,000 tonnes of rubber worth US$139.1 million soon. This will ensure supplies for Russian automobile and aircraft production.
The Russian government has also agreed to persuade its private enterprises to invest in Thailand.
Russia is also interested to invest more in Thailand in particular along the special economic zones, which can link Russia from China to Danang, Vietnam, and from Yunnan, China to Asean, and to India.
Russia has also urged Thai investors to expand investment in its country. Recently a Thai sugar manufacturer invested $200 million to set up a sugar mill in Russia.
According to the Trade Negotiations Department, Russia is Thailand’s 23rd-largest trading partner, with average bilateral trade worth $4.91 billion last year, accounting for 1.08 per cent of Thailand’s total trade value. Thailand has a trade deficit with Russia. In the first eight months of this year, two-way trade amounted to $1.68 billion, down by 50.73 per cent year on year.