THAILAND has called for South Korea investors to increase their investments in Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor and other areas, while indicating its readiness to serve as a gateway for South Korea businesses in this region.
In a speech marking the 60th anniversary of Thailand-South Korea relations at a ceremony yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said he wants to see more foreign direct investments from South Korea, given its current share of just 3 per cent or about US$500 million, in Thailand.
Sontirat Sontijirawong, commerce minister, said that Thailand has tried to encourage South Korean investors to invest more in Thailand’s EEC and other areas.
“We want to expand trade cooperation with South Korea. The Ministry of Commerce will have to find ways for more cooperation in more product varieties, such as fruits, Somkid said. The two countries are currently cooperating only in some products, including electronics items, electrical appliances and rubber.
Thailand wants to double two-way trade with SouthKorea from the current figure, Sontirat said. The country is the 15th trading partner of South Korea and the country is the 10th trade partner of Thailand with a 12 per cent increase in mutual trade to US$12 billion last year.
About US$50 million worth of orders for Thai products, to be delivered within one year, is expected during a July 11-14 visit to Thailand by the 120 memebrs of the Korean Importers Association (KOIMA).
During the visit, five memorandums of understanding (MOU) will be signed.
Among these, South Korea’s KEPCO KDN and ILJIN Power will sign a MoU with Thailand’s Energy Absolute for finding investment opportunity in alternative energy for market expansion to Thailand’s neighbouring countries, while South Korea’s Chunjin Chemtec will sign with Von Bundit - Thailand’s largest natural rubber maker, on the purchase of Thai rubber worth $15 million.
Other MoUs include KOIMA and Thailand’s Thai Hevea Wood Association for joint development of wood pellets worth about $10 million; KOIMA and Thai Food Processors’ Association on trade cooperation, and South Korea’s Coman Foods and Thailand’s Suree Interfoods for the purchase of Suree-branded food products worth about US$10 million within one year.
Negotiations have also been held on online trade connection among Thaitrade.com and South Korea’s leading online e-commerce website - coupang, 11 street and cafe24. Initially, about 2,000 products from Thaitrade.com will be linked to these South Korean websites.
In October this year, a meeting of Korea-Thailand Committee on Economic Cooperation (KOTCOM) will be held in South Korea to discus economic strategic cooperation.
Thailand is the gateway for South Korea to CLMVT countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand) with a combined population of over 200 million and nearly 100 million in working ages.
Thailand also wants to use the Korean model for the its development and needs South Korea’s help in digitalisation, education reform and creative economic development, Somkid said.