THE CABINET this week gave a green light for the Commerce and Industry ministries to sign trade and cooperation proposals at the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) in Beijing, which begins tomorrow.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said he believed China’s “One Belt One Road” (OBOR) policy would benefit not only the Chinese economy but also those of participating countries.
“One Belt One Road will be a new hope in a period when the world has been facing uncertainties, including US policy changes and Britain’s exit” from the European Union, he said.
Six Thai ministers with responsibilities ranging from transport, industry, commerce and science to digital economy and society have been assigned to attend the forum.
At the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, two draft papers were approved for signing at the BRF.
Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn will sign the first paper, “Initiative on Promoting Unimpeded Trade Cooperation along the Belt and Road”, in order to express Thailand’s position as an economic partner of China.
The government sees this as an opportunity to express its vision concerning trade and economic connectivity and to promote Thailand’s leading role to link China with the Greater Mekong Subregion countries and Asean.
If there are any other issues relating to trade and economic cooperation not already covered under existing agreements or contracts, the Commerce Ministry or other Thai representatives will be allowed to proceed without further Cabinet consideration.
Industry Minister Atchaka Sibunruang will sign the second paper, “Appeal for Stronger People-to-People Connectivity along the Belt and Road”.
This paper indicates Thailand’s intention for cooperative development under OBOR in science, technology and innovation to help promote the government’s “Thailand 4.0” and Eastern Economic Corridor policies.
In the first quarter of this year, China was Thailand’s largest trading partner. Bilateral trade totalled US$17.23 billion (Bt598.4 billion) in the period, up 14.6 per cent year on year.
The Commerce Ministry targets exports to China to grow by 4 per cent this year.
China has invited more than 100 ministers and leaders from 28 countries, representatives from 80 international organisations and about 1,200 businesspeople and other participants from around the globe to the BRF.