By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
SWEDEN HAS expressed interest in Thailand’s special economic zones and 10 super clusters, as it sees the Kingdom as a springboard to the Asean market.
“With the Thai government’s policies to promote investment in special economic zones and in 10 high technology sophisticated industries, Sweden has great interest to expand investment in Thailand, as they are experts in many high-tech industries such as information technology, clean technology, healthcare technology and innovation,” Swedish Ambassador Staffan Herrstrom said yesterday.
After meeting with Herrstrom, Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said that with close relations with Thailand, Sweden sees Thailand as a hub of Asean and would like to expand trade and investment here.
Thailand could be a springboard for Swedish enterprises to penetrate Asean countries and the Asia continent, he said.
Thailand and Sweden also have the potential to form closer cooperation in innovation technology and design, and research and development, as Sweden has high expertise.
For instance, Sweden could help Thailand develop its Centre for Arts and Crafts International in terms of designing crafts and handicrafts, as well as help develop jewellery and ornament design.
Thailand will invite famous designers from Sweden to help train and exchange ideas with Thai jewellery and ornament designers.
Swedish traders have also been invited to join the Thailand Innovation and Design Expo and the seminar on Thai-Europe Innotech Links to be held in September for exchanging knowledge about design and technology with Thai entrepreneurs.
During the meeting with the Thai minister, the Swedish envoy also said his country will continue to trade and invest in Thailand, as it is confident of the quality of Thai products, especially rice and agricultural commodities.
Rice is the major import from Thailand to Sweden.
Sweden is Thailand’s 47th largest trading partner in the world and ninth among countries in the European Union.
In the past three years, two-way trade averaged US$1.4 billion. Last year, two-way trade reached $1.26 billion, with Thai exports to Sweden worth $474.6 million.
Other major products shipped to Sweden are electric appliances, automobiles and parts, air-conditioners and clothes.
Cumulative investment from Sweden in Thailand was worth Bt5.09 billion. Sweden is Thailand’s 12th largest source of foreign investors among the EU.