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Thailand to promote more trade, investment, and connectivity with Turkey and Poland

By   /   July 11, 2013  /   No Comments

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July 5, 2013 at 1630hrs, Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had a plenary discussion with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey at the Prime Minister’s Office in Istanbul. Government Spokesperson Teerat Ratanasevi revealed gist of the meeting as follows:

 On mutual relations: PM Yingluck expressed her pleasure to meet with the Turkish Prime Minister again after their last meeting during the Bali Democracy Forum last November. She also thanked for the warm welcome, and reaffirmed cordial relations between Thailand and Turkey. In the year 2018 which marks the 60th anniversary of Thailand-Turkey diplomatic relations, there would be joint activities to celebrate and symbolize close and long-term relations between the two countries. The meeting today would also result in concrete development with the signing of joint operation plans which would be an important mechanism to upgrade mutual cooperation to closer partnership.

On economy, trade and investment: Both parties came to terms on the Free Trade Agreement between Thailand and Turkey and would start with a joint feasibility study. Increase of mutual trade value within the next 5 years was also agreed upon. PM Yingluck confirmed that political and economic situation in Thailand was now stable and invited Turkish private sector to invest more in Thailand, particularly in the area of construction where Turkey is the world’s second largest construction export industry. In her visit to Turkey, PM Yingluck brought along Thai private sectors in diversified fields such as energy, automotive parts, halal food, construction, and textile in order to seek new investment opportunity in the areas of Turkey’s expertise.

On connectivity: Both countries had given priority on infrastructure development particularly transportation to connect different regions. PM Yingluck informed that Thailand had planned to invest in infrastructure project worth 66 billion US Dollars which include rapid rail system connecting Lao PDR and China, all the way to Russia, and Europe with an aim to be the logistics hub of ASEAN. Thailand was also interested in a railroad project to connect with Turkey’s New Silk Road project as part of the Asia-Europe connectivity.

On tourism: Both parties were pleased with the increasing people-to-people relations which resulted from the exemption of visa for ordinary passport holders to and from each other’s country. The Thai Government also planned to open Thai consulates in the cities of Antalya and Izmir, and Turkey intended to do the same in Chiang Mai, and Phuket. This will further promote people-to-people relations between the two countries, as well as tourism, and trade in the future.

On education and culture: PM Yingluck thanked the Turkish Government for providing scholarships to Thai students every year, and the Thai Government would like to do the same to the Turkish students. Early this year, Prince of Songkla University has collaborated with Ankara University to establish the first Turkish Study Center in Thailand at its Pattani campus. PM Yingluck also commended Turkey for its leading role in the Middle Way of Islam. Thailand, therefore, hopes to see exchange of visits and training of mullahs between the two countries particularly mullahs from the Southern part of Thailand.

Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (IOC): PM Yingluck thanked Turkey for its understanding of the situation in the southernmost of Thailand and providing constant support Thailand within the IOC framework. The Thai Government committed to end the conflict with peace, and priority would be given to human rights and the rule of law.

After the plenary meeting, both premiers chaired the signing ceremony of the following 3 Agreements: 1) Treaty on the Transfer of Prisoners and Cooperation in the Enforcement of Penal Sentences; 2) Thai-Turkish Joint Action Plan; and 3) MOU on Academic Cooperation and Diplomat Training between Thai and Turkish Institutes of Foreign Affairs, followed by the joint press conference of the two Prime Ministers. Gist of the joint press conference is as follows:

PM Yingluck thanked Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey for the warm welcome extended to her and the delegation during the visit to Turkey, and commended the country for its perfect integration of modernity and ancient civilization. Turkey’s strong economy also very much contribute to regional and global economy. Thailand pledged support on Turkey’s democracy and its elected government. PM Yingluck expressed her pleasure to be able to visit Istanbul which was a city rich in history, culture, and economic growth.

Diplomatic relations between Thailand and Turkey had been continued for over 55 years. Both premiers agreed to further strengthen future relations.

The Thai-Turkish Action Plan which was earlier signed would be an important mechanism to expand mutual cooperation in all dimensions. As for the relations in trade and investment, both parties came to terms on the increase of mutual trade value within the next 5 years. In her visit to Turkey, PM Yingluck brought along Thai private sectors in diversified fields such as energy, halal food, and tourism in order to seek new investment opportunity in the areas of Turkey’s expertise. PM Yingluck also confirmed of a joint feasibility study on Free Trade Agreement between Thailand and Turkey.

Both nations agreed with peaceful coexistence despite difference. PM Yingluck thanked the Turkish Prime Minister for his understanding and support on Thailand’s attempt for peacekeeping in the southernmost provinces of the country. She also thanked the Turkish Government for providing scholarships to Thai students every year most of whom were Muslim students from the South.

Both parties also agreed upon the connectivity enhancement between the two countries, as well as the Eurasian region. Thailand was pleased to support Turkey’s New Silk Road project under the framework of ACD to connect Asia and Europe through a rail route via Turkey. She also pledged support for Turkey to become an ACD member. In addition, PM Yingluck marveled the Marmaray TunnelProject where she had a chance to visit, and informed the Turkish Prime Minister of the Thai Government’s infrastructure projectworth 66 billion US Dollars.

The Thai Prime Minsiter lastly thanked the Turkish premier for being an excellent host, and extended her invitation for the Turkish Prime Minister to visit Thailand in the future.

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Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yingluck Shinawatra presided over an economic seminar in Poland. Participating in the seminar were Polish Economic Minister, as well as Thai and Polish businessmen.

July 4, 2013, at 1430hrs (local time), at the Sheraton Hotel Warsaw, Republic of Poland, Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yingluck Shinawatra presided over an economic seminar in Poland. Participating in the seminar were Polish Economic Minister, as well as Thai and Polish businessmen. Gist as follows:

PM Yingluck expressed her pleasure to have visited the Republic of Poland since Thailand and Poland had maintained cordial relations for several centuries, and shared a number of similarities. With its strong economic foundation and the Government’s vision, Poland had withstood Euro zone’s economic crisis, and had seen favorable economic growth of 2% last year. With this, PM Yingluck believed that Poland would continue to play an important role in EU’s economic system for this year and in the future.

On the other side of the world, Thailand was considered the gateway of ASEAN and had played a vital role in the mobilization of ASEAN Community in 2015. The country was also a survivor of several political and economic crises, and its economy had been steadily growing at the rate of 4.5-5% per year. According to PM Yingluck, Thailand and Poland would be promising allies, and an increasing number of Thai businessmen had been interested in investing in Poland. At present, a few investors from Thailand had already run their business in the country with good profits. These investors used Poland as their business base in the EU countries and reported that they were very satisfied with running business and living here in Poland.

Therefore, to reinforce economic connection and expand business opportunity, PM Yingluck brought along in her visit to Poland over 30 Thai businessmen from such diversified fields as food, energy, automotive, construction industry, public health, and tourism which were the fields of expertise for Thailand. PM Yingluck expressed her hope that the Thai businessmen would have an opportunity to meet and create partnership with the Polish counterparts and expand business opportunity between each other. She also reaffirmed that the Thai and Polish Government pledged full support for the private sectors of both countries, and would work in close partnership to pave way for future relations between the two countries.

According to PM Yingluck, 2 major factors to promote and mobilize economic partnership between Thailand and Poland in the long run were:

First: To promote connectivity between the two countries. It may seem to others that land transportation between Thailand and Poland is impossible considering their geographical locations. However, Poland is situated along the railroad connecting Western Europe and Asia. In fact, in May this year, logistics system between a Polish city, Lodz, and China’s Chengdu has just been established. Transportation could be made for the distance of 10,000 km within 14 days. DHL also use the rapid train service between China and Poland for its logistics business. It is predicted by research firms that Poland will be the logistics and transportation hub of Europe within the year 2020 with Gdansk and Lodz as potential centers.

The next step is to connect Poland with Thailand through construction of railroad from China to ASEAN which is currently implemented by Thailand and the ASEAN countries. The Thai Government has invested in rapid train system from Bangkok to Lao PDR, and once the connection between Lao PDR and China is completed, Thailand will then be connected with Poland through China, Russia, and Europe. Therefore, in the near future, Poland will become the land transportation hub of Thailand and ASEAN, and will directly get access to the ASEAN market.

Second: To promote trade and investment partnership between the two countries. The Prime Ministers of Thailand and Poland came to terms with an aim to increase mutual trade value to one billion US Dollars within the year 2018. According to PM Yingluck, EU-Thailand Free Trade negotiation has seen considerable progress and is expected to complete next year.

As part of the preparation for the aforementioned development, PM Yingluck invited Polish private sector to establish their production bases in Thailand and make the country the distribution center for their products and services in the ASEAN region. With its current investment in infrastructure system, and its strategic location in the region of 600 million people, PM Yingluck believed Thailand was a good choice for foreign investors.

In addition, strong economic foundation of Thailand, and the Government’s constant support for foreign investment, coupling with its richness in culture, food, and hospitality, Thailand is ready to welcome foreigners from all over the world.

Lastly, PM Yingluck reaffirmed the Thai Government’s readiness to work with Poland in all dimensions in order to further strengthen Thai and Polish mutual relations. She also called for the businessmen of both countries to join hands in promoting mutual partnership for the best interests of both countries and their people.

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