Convenient column


China always opens its door to products from Thailand and the two partners' bilateral trade will bring mutual benefits to both the development of the two nations and the lives of the people, said the Chinese ambassador to Thailand.

"China doesn't see trade surplus to Thailand as our target. Instead, we always welcome Thai products to enter the Chinese market," said Han Zhiqiang, Chinese ambassador to Thailand in a forum on Saturday amid recent reports on the kingdom's trade deficit with China.

Last year, trade volume between China and Thailand reached $126.3 billion with China's trade surplus standing at $25.1 billion, according to the statistics from the Chinese Embassy to Thailand.

"Some people thought Thailand was suffering from a loss in the trade with China, which is neither scientific nor objective," Han said, taking the agriculture products export as an example. "So far, at least 40 percent of agriculture products in Thailand were exported to China annually, which benefits local farmers a lot."

Meanwhile, raw materials and components took major parts of products that Thailand imported from China. "Those products are mostly exported from Thailand to other countries after further processing," he explained.

Of the Chinese products exported to Thailand, silicon wafer -- raw material for producing solar cells, was valued at $1.29 billion in total last year. The kingdom's solar panel cell export value doubled that of silicon wafers imported from China and hit $2.92 billion the same year, according to Han.

Moreover, he said China also contributed to Thailand's economic growth through bilateral service trade and direct investment. In 2023, Chinese tourists spent a total of $5.4 billion in Thailand and direct investment from Chinese enterprises also reached $4.6 billion.

So far, he mentioned that there are about 850 Chinese enterprises registered in the embassy, which enhanced Thailand's exports and created more employment opportunities.

Apart from that, Chinese enterprises have helped to improve the vocational skills of local people. As Southeast Asia's first country that put 5G technology into commercial use, Thailand gained support from China's tech giant Huawei Technologies Co, which has trained more than 70,000 digital technical personnel over the past years.

In terms of helping the kingdom's aim of building it Southeast Asia's EV hub and transforming the country into an innovative and value-based industrial base, China has served as a driving force, taking the initiative of bringing its EV products to boost green development.

Last year, there were about 76,000 EV vehicles were sold in Thailand. Of them, 80 percent are Chinese brands, according to the authorities.

"More importantly, many Chinese EV enterprises are bringing the production lines to Thailand. It not only enhanced employment rate, but also meet the requirement of our own target of transforming some eastern provinces into a new corridor of innovation and economic growth," said Djitt Laowattana, special adviser to The Eastern Economic Corridor Office.

The Eastern Economic Corridor, or EEC, lies at the heart of Thailand's 20-year strategy to achieve high-income status by 2036 through a wide range of top-down initiatives, especially in infrastructure and public development.

In response to recent reports on the influence of any influx of cheap goods to local Thai producers, Han reaffirmed that China has always required its citizens and enterprises to strictly abide by the laws and will support the Thai side in dealing with any illegal activities under the law.

"Meanwhile, we should also respect the market rules and take a rational perspective toward competition. VAT exemption for imported goods with limited value is a beneficial policy to households, which China has also encouraged. The law enforcement should be intensified to crack down on those illegal activities," he said.

Han also said China has persistently pursued development with its door open and the country's economy has shifted towards high-quality development. "China will surely continue opening its arms to embrace the world, and share its development experience and accomplishments with other countries."


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