Canada Urged to Invest More in Thailand
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra discussed ways to expand Thai-Canadian cooperation with the Right Honorable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, who paid an official visit to Thailand from 22 to 24 March 2012.
The three-day visit was meant to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Thailand and Canada. It also provided an opportunity for both countries to deepen existing cooperation and reaffirm their longstanding relationships.
Prime Minister Yingluck invited Canadian business investment in Thailand in electronic, machinery, and automobile industries, information technology, clean technology, environmental protection, and biotechnology.
She told her Canadian counterpart that PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP), has invested in Canada since 2010. PTTEP is a national petroleum exploration and production company, and it plays an important role in Thailand’s economic drive and environmental protection. She asked the Canadian government to support the operations of this company in Canada. Prime Minister Yingluck said that Thailand is in the process of developing clean energy. Since Canada has expertise in clean energy, she said that both countries should cooperate in encouraging their private sectors to expand this business.
She said that Thailand would like to increase its exports to Canada, especially frozen seafood, rice, fruit, beans, rubber and rubber products, electronics parts, and gems. In order to increase bilateral trade, both countries agreed to start their negotiations on a free trade agreement, which could serve as a mechanism to further expand bilateral trade.
Thailand and Canada also agreed to boost cooperation in science, technology, and innovation, as well as student exchange through various cultural programs. Moreover, they would facilitate visa applications in order to promote tourism between the two countries.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister John Baird of Canada, who accompanied the Canadian Prime Minister on this visit, met Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul on March 23 to exchange views on a various issues. They also stressed the importance of strengthening people-to-people relations.
Thailand serves as the Country Coordinator of ASEAN-Canada relations between 2009 and 2012. ASEAN and Canada celebrates the 35th anniversary of their dialogue partnership in 2012. Canada is now ASEAN’s 13th largest trading partner, with two-way trade of 9.8 billion US dollars, and ranks ninth in terms of investment in ASEAN with 1.6 billion dollars.
ASEAN and Canada have developed their relations in all aspects, from political and security to economic and socio-cultural areas of cooperation, since Canada formally became a dialogue partner of ASEAN in 1977.