May 04, 2012 00:00 By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
Thailand and Japan have agreed to boost bilateral trade to US$100 billion (Bt3 trillion) by 2017, thanks to closer trade and investment cooperation under the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (Jtepa).
Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyaphirom said two-way trade between Thailand and Japan as well as Asean and Japan should grow strongly thanks to the free-trade pact, while Japanese investors have vowed to continue investment in Thailand despite last year’s floods.
To boost trade growth to achieve the target, both sides have agreed to promote connectivity among Asean members and Japan. They will help the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises as well as promote an economic bloc in the Asia region.
According to the Trade Negotiations Department, bilateral trade between Thailand and Japan was worth $66.2 billion last year, an increased of 13.7 per cent from 2010. Exports from Thailand to Japan were valued at $24.1 billion, a 17.9-per-cent increase, while imports were $42.3 billion, up by 11.4 per cent year on year.
After joining an Asean economic ministers’ roadshow last week to encourage Japanese enterprises to trade and invest more in Thailand and the Asean region, Boonsong said Japanese investors in flood-affected areas had high confidence to maintain their investment in Thailand. Only 3 per cent of them would remove their plants to other provinces, the Japan International Corporation Agency report said.
Thailand is being considered Asean’s trade and production centre and Japanese investors will continue to do business in the country after the government provided clear explanation on flood-prevention measures, he said.
In addition, Thailand has explained to Japan about the progress of flood-recovery measures. It reported that more than 70 per cent of flood-affected factories have already resumed operations.