Thailand to strengthen cooperation with China's Great Bay Area

Xinhua, March 3, 2023

Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China's southern economic powerhouse Shenzhen to boost economic cooperation with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA).

The signing ceremony was held by the Department of International Trade Promotion, Ministry of Commerce Thailand and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Shenzhen Municipal Committee (CCPIT Shenzhen).

Addressing the event, Jurin Laksanawisit, Thailand's deputy prime minister and minister of commerce, stressed the importance of bilateral economic cooperation and trade through mini-free trade agreements (mini-FTAs) between Thailand and China.

Thailand has been stepping up trade cooperation with China by expanding mini-FTAs with Chinese cities and provinces, he said. "Six smaller FTAs, including two with Chinese provinces like Hainan and Gansu, have already been signed by Thailand."

"The MOU between Thailand and Shenzhen, an important economic city in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and a high-tech city in China, will further promote bilateral trade growth," Jurin said.

China was the largest trading partner of Thailand in 2022, with a bilateral trade value reaching 3.69 trillion baht (about 107 billion U.S. dollars), which accounted for about 18 percent of Thailand's total foreign trade volume, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

China and Thailand have strong ties, and economic and trade cooperation has grown significantly under both countries' strategic leadership, said Wang Liping, minister counsellor for economic and commercial affairs of the Chinese Embassy in Thailand.

"The signing of the MOU is strengthening the strategic alignment of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and Thailand's Eastern Economic Corridor," Wang said, exploring new models of cooperation to create new highlights of China-Thailand economic and trade cooperation.

The trade cooperation between Shenzhen and Thailand produced fruitful results in 2022, with imports and exports totaling 100 billion yuan (about 14.56 billion U.S. dollars), an increase of 18 percent over the same period last year, said Gu Dongzhong, Chairman of CCPIT Shenzhen.

"The MOU will benefit both parties by increasing trade and assisting SMEs in market expansion through RCEP and cross-border e-commerce, while also promoting high-quality economic and trade cooperation between Shenzhen and Thailand," he said.

Over 150 Chinese and Thai government officials, experts, scholars, and business representatives attended the online and offline "Hybrid Seminar: Trade and Investment Opportunities in Thailand-Shenzhen" after the signing of the MOU.