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Chinese investors show strong interest in Thailand at RCEP-tion

Chinese investors show strong interest in Thailand at RCEP-tionLegacy

Chinese investors eagerly engaged with Thailand’s business landscape at a recent matchmaking event held under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement. Marking its debut in Thailand, the event seeks to draw interest towards emerging S-curve industries and facilitate the transfer of technology from China.

At the helm of the 1st RCEP Business Opportunities Matchmaking Conference (China-Thailand) was Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai. This gathering aimed to attract investment from a multitude of businesses, representing 60 Chinese associations across various sectors. With the RCEP pact as a catalyst, the initiative aspires to invigorate Thailand’s GDP.

For the twelfth consecutive year, 2023 saw China remain Thailand’s largest trading partner, with trade estimated at US$105 billion, accounting for 18% of Thailand’s total trade. The RCEP agreement has significantly enhanced trade cooperation between China and Thailand.

As the world’s largest free trade agreement, RCEP covers approximately 30% of the global GDP and 30% of the global population. China and Thailand are also part of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA), which is currently undergoing revisions, Phumtham said.

“The RCEP is expected to increase Thailand’s trade and investment with China by expanding the production network and distribution of products in the Asia-Pacific region and connecting to the global value chain through preferential tariffs under the agreement.”

Phumtham has collaborated with the Office of the Board of Investment, the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office, and the Commerce Ministry to support China’s private sector. The goal is to maximise the RCEP benefits to expand trade and GDP among member countries, particularly by establishing production bases in Thailand and investing in S-curve industries.

Commerce Ministry MoUs

The Commerce Ministry facilitated a business network between the private sectors of both countries through four memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with the provincial governments of Hainan, Gansu, Shenzhen, and Yunnan. Additionally, plans are in place to sign another eight MoUs with Fujian, Heilongjiang, Shanxi, Zhejiang, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Hebei, Shandong, and Jilin.

This initiative aims to benefit entrepreneurs, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), by increasing bilateral trade and investment.

Thailand offers numerous advantages for trade and investment, acting as a gateway to Southeast Asia and the broader Asian region. The country boasts excellent digital connectivity, a skilled labour force, and a high standard of living, making it an attractive investment destination.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin instructed all ministers to alleviate trade obstacles through regulatory reforms. These reforms include providing long-term visas and other incentives to facilitate strategic partnerships.

Phinij Jarusombat, Thai-Chinese Cultural and Relationship Council President, noted that trade between Thailand and China has significantly increased since the RCEP agreement in 2012.

In 2023, Thailand’s trade with RCEP countries was valued at US$312 billion, representing 54.4% of the country’s total trade.

Exports to RCEP member countries amounted to US$1.45 billion. Thailand has 14 free trade agreements with 18 trading partners, including the RCEP agreement. The RCEP is in the process of accepting new members, including Hong Kong and Sri Lanka, and is establishing a RCEP Support Unit, expected to be completed by the end of the year, reported Bangkok Post.

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