The Nation



Hunan seeks more trade with Thailand

Province in south-central China sees volumes rise

Thailand and south-central China's Hunan province have enjoyed an increasing volume of bilateral trade and are seeking to strengthen it further, said Xie Jianhui, director-general of the Hunan Commerce Department.

The value of two-way trade between Hunan and Thailand reached US$270 million (Bt8.8 billion) last year, growth of about 9 per cent over 2011.

In the first nine months of this year, trade value reached $290 million, an increase of 28.9 per cent over the same period last year.

"Thailand and Hunan have enjoyed excellent trade cooperation. Their officials and people have exchanged visits and strengthened the relationship for a long time," she said.

This year, many businesspeople from the province visited Thailand seeking opportunities and cooperation. A number of them went to Chiang Mai and other northern provinces, while some went to Bangkok.

The major products exported to Thailand are construction machinery, steel products and textiles. The major products imported from Thailand are coal, electronic components and iron ore.

Many Thai companies have invested in Hunan, and their numbers are increasing. Xie said that by the end of last year, the provincial authorities had approved 50 Thai enterprises.

Six CP companies

CP Group established six companies in the province last year, in Changsha, Yueyang and Huaihua. They achieved sales revenue of 1.515 billion yuan (Bt8.2 billion), paid 18.6 million yuan in taxes, and earned total profits of 22.85 million yuan.

Other recipients of major Thai investments in Hunan include Chia Tai Shaoyang Orthopaedic Hospital ($50.26 million), Yueyang Fengli Paper Co ($37.60 million) and Hunan Zhengda Livestock Co ($36.84 million).

Meanwhile, about 50 companies from Hunan have invested in Thailand, Xie said, with investment totalling $121 million. Most of them are small and medium-sized enterprises, investing in machinery manufacture and mineral processing.

The province also established its first overseas industrial park in Thailand. To promote trade cooperation, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hunan in Thailand was set up.

Xie said that in the past five years, Hunan's economy had developed rapidly in many respects, making it one of China's top 10. Its aggregate gross domestic product has reached 2.2 trillion yuan.

She said the quick development of Hunan's economy and society benefited from a strategy of "opening up and rising up" in which sustainable development is promoted.

The province has been home to major international investors including Fiat, Mitsubishi and Siemens.

Foreign capital

From January to September this year, the actual utilisation of foreign capital reached $6.5 billion, with year-on-year growth of 19.1 per cent, ranking first in central China.

Despite the worldwide economic recession, Hunan's foreign trade maintained growth. During the first three quarters of this year, the total volume of import and export reached $17.174 billion, with year-on-year growth of 18.4 per cent, again No 1 in central China.

The province claims a distinct advantage in international cooperation in terms of building construction, water conservation, hydropower and highway traffic.

The provincial capital Changsha is a conjunction of the Beijing-Shenzhen, Shanghai-Kunming and Kunming-Xiamen high-speed train routes. These trains shorten travel time from Changsha to other major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Kunming and Guangzhou.

Hunan's air services via its two international airports are also comprehensive, providing direct flights to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Seoul and 60 inland Chinese cities.

Land transport is also convenient, Xie said, adding that its rivers - the Xiang, Zi, Yuan and Li - provided connections to the sea. It has international ports that can handle large vessels.

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