Thailand, Maldives aim to boost investments, trade

Economy July 05, 2013 00:00

By Petchanet Pratruangkrai,

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The government of Maldives is aiming to attract Thai investment in tourism, fisheries, the food industry and hospitals, after the first meeting of the Joint Trade Committee between the two countries in Bangkok.

Thailand’s Trade Negotiations Department, meanwhile, will explore opportunities to attract Maldivians to Thai healthcare facilities and increase exports of rice, food and textiles, together with skilled labour in service industries.
The department’s director-general, Piramol Charoenpao, said Maldives would encourage Thai enterprises to invest in hotels and resorts, together with infrastructure projects such as a harbour and airport as well as the healthcare, health-tourism, fisheries and processed-food sectors.
Maldives also called for visa requirements to be waived to boost the number of Maldivian tourists and entrepreneurs in Thailand.
Meanwhile, the Thai government wants to see an increase in Maldivian tourists, particularly medical tourists. Thailand has asked Maldives to include Thai hospitals in health-insurance schemes, so Maldivian patients can ask for medical treatment here.
Thailand also asked Maldives to import more Thai goods such as rice, agricultural products, processed foods, textiles and electronic parts. Additionally, Thailand wants to learn more about Maldivian sustainable fisheries policies and management practices. 
The issue of Thai skilled labourers – such as spa therapists, chefs and mechanics – working in Maldives will be discussed further.
The Joint Trade Committee was convened in parallel with a business conference matching firms in the fisheries, construction, tourism and healthcare sectors, Piramol said.
“The results are satisfying for both sides,” she added.
Maldives also wants Thailand’s assistance in investment promotion, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises.
The Joint Trade Committee resulted from the Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement signed by the two countries on June 1, which aims to increase joint trade and investment to US$200 million (Bt6.2 billion) by 2018.