Srettha and Macron push for a closer partnership


Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and France’s President Emmanuel Macron on Monday vowed to strengthen mutual relations across all dimensions and foster a closer partnership between their two countries.

In a joint press conference following their meeting at the l’Elysée Palace in Paris, Macron highlighted the importance of cooperation in economic matters and trade, as well as in preparing for challenges in the Southeast Asian region. He pointed out that a strong bilateral relationship will eventually lead to multi-lateral ties that help establish peace and stability on a global scale.

Srettha, who doubles as Finance Minister, thanked the French president for the warm welcome and congratulated France on hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics. He referred to the historical ties between the two countries, pointing to their common positions and vision on the administration of state affairs, mentioning in particular, the close relations between Thailand and France that date back more than 300 years. The year 2025 will mark the 340th anniversary of the first contact between Siam and France, and the 170th anniversary of Thai-French diplomatic relations will be celebrated in 2026, he noted.

Thailand and France uphold similar international values, promoting democracy, human rights and gender equality, and providing humanitarian assistance to those in distress.

In addition, both countries hold the same position on maintaining global peace, stability, and security. Thailand has played an important role in the ASEAN region under the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), whereas the EU Strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific has paved the way for the EU, including France, to have more constructive interaction in the region, thereby, promoting a strategic balance amidst the competition between the US and China.

Srettha and Macron push for a closer partnership

Both the Prime Minister and the French President agreed that international cooperation based on respect for sovereignty and the territorial integrity of States, international laws, humanitarian law, and the UN Charter will help resolve the current conflicts. The two countries also share a vision to build a more sustainable and resilient economy while taking into account the digital and green transition, Srettha added.

Srettha then mentioned Thailand Vision 2030, an initiative to make the country the region’s industrial hub in eight sectors, namely tourism, wellness and medical, agriculture and food, aviation, regional logistics, future automotive manufacturing, digital economy, and finance. He extended his invitation for France to partner with Thailand in future automotive manufacturing, aviation, regional logistics, and clean energy. He also invited France’s leading port management firms to consider investment in Thailand’s land-bridge project.

The Prime Minister commended the Paris Pact for People and the Planet, aka the “4P Initiative”, which has as its goal “A world where poverty is eliminated and the planet preserved”. The 4P Initiative’s principle in scaling up private capital flows to support the transition to a low-carbon economy is in line with Thailand’s policy of lowering carbon emissions to become a low-carbon society.

Srettha and Macron push for a closer partnership

Srettha expressed confidence that mutual trade and investment value will significantly increase if the negotiations on the Thailand-EU FTA are finalised by 2025. Thailand also submitted a letter of intent to become an OECD member in the hope of being recognised for its global economic standard which will help attract trade and investment to the country.

Thailand also hopes to collaborate with France’s leading fashion institutes in developing raw materials and design techniques for Thai silk and fabrics, and with French brand names and department stores in importing Thai fashions to the French market. The country also aspires to promote Thai films at the Cannes Film Festival.

As for partnership in the defence industry, Srettha proposed joint investment and technology transfer for Thailand to become the region’s production base and maintenance hub of military equipment.

The Prime Minister added that Thailand is home to the largest French community in the ASEAN region, and is the second most popular long-distance tourist destination among the French. Over 200,000 Thai tourists travelling in France are also considered quality tourists with high spending power.

Srettha, therefore, hoped that France would consider an exemption of the Schengen visa for Thai nationals in a bid to promote tourism activities between the two countries. He also affirmed Thailand’s commitment to forging a close and comprehensive partnership with France during the next several decades.

Since arriving in France on March 9, Srettha has met with executives of over 20 of France’s leading firms in the fields of automobiles, aviation, clean energy, fashion, sports, hospitality and tourism, to explore business opportunities between the two countries.