Thailand and Russia are ready to boost bilateral trade to US$10 billion in 2023, Jurin Laksanawisit, Thailand’s Minister of Commerce Minister said on Saturday. Jurin was speaking after talks with Russia’s Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov on the sidelines of the APEC meeting in Bangkok.
He said details of the new trade ties would be worked out at the upcoming fifth meeting of the Thailand-Russia trade and economic cooperation subcommittee. Jurin said Thailand was also working on finalizing its free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which is likely to part of the trade promotion package. The EAEU includes Russia, together with Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.
Meanwhile, Jurin confirmed that Thai banks had shown interest in Russia’s proposal to introduce the Mir payment system for Russian tourists in Thailand. He also pledged to coordinate with the Tourism and Transport ministries to facilitate direct flights from Russia.
On trade, he said Russia was interested in importing more Thai products, especially food and automobiles. Moscow is also keen to expand investment in Thailand, especially in IT, and had also invited Thais to invest in Russia, he added.
Last year, trade between Thailand and Russia was worth US$2.7 billion, with Thai exports rising 41% over 2020 to US$1.02 billion. Thailand exports autos and auto components, car tires, machinery, and canned and processed fruits to Russia, while Thailand’s trade with Russia last year was driven by imported crude oil, fertilizers, pesticides, and steel.
Thailand is not alone amongst South Asian countries to show trade and development interest in Russia. Vietnam already has a highly successful Free Trade Agreement with Russia via the EAEU which has resulted in investments in automotive as well as significant increases in agricultural, meat and aquacultural trade. Other ASEAN nations such as Indonesia are also negotiating FTA with the EAEU, with this momentum gathering pace as Russia looks to move its supply chain and investments east.