• General Prayut Chan-o-cha urges industry to implement agreements with vigor

 NEW DELHI, June 17, 2016. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand, emphasized the need to expedite the process of finalizing the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and Thailand. He said that there were almost 30 agreements that have been signed between India and Thailand but there was a need to implement these with vigor and added that focus should be on taking action and creating a win-win situation for both India and Thailand.

The Prime Minister of Thailand was addressing a business session on ‘India-Thailand: Partners in Progress for Economic Cooperation’ organized by FICCI jointly with CII and ASSOCHAM. On the occasion, the first India-Thailand Business Forum was also established with the aim of higher level of business engagement between the two nations. He said that the governments of ten two countries were facilitating the private sector by liberalizing policies and it was now the private sector which had to stimulate the economic growth.

General Prayut Chan-o-cha said that the major sectors of interest between India and Thailand were alternative energy, automotive industry, automotive electronics, auto parts, electronics industry, food industry, natural rubber industry, software industry, yacht building, electrical & electronics, chemicals, transportation & trading industry, textiles, spa, real estate, gems & jewellery, food processing, automotive industry, amongst others. He added that tourism was a sector where intensive engagement was essential to promote two-way tourism throughout the year.

Speaking on value chain creation, General Prayut Chan-o-cha said that there was a need to develop supply and production chain and linkages to enhance trade and investment opportunities between the two nations. He added that in Thailand, taxes were being harmonized and rules and processes were being waived off to facilitate investments in Thailand.

General V K Singh PVSM, AVSM, YSM (Retd), Minister of State, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India,  invited Thai business community to invest in India and urged the industry on both sides to explore more avenues for cooperation and capitalize on the strengths of each other to take the economic and strategic partnership forward. He added that India’s ‘Act East’ policy has brought a new dynamism to the economic policies.

General Singh said that India could learn a lot from the experiences of Thailand as they had successfully developed an airport on a marshy land. He added that next year India and Thailand would complete 70 years of diplomatic relations and the two nations will celebrate it to further deepen the bond.

Harshavardhan Neotia, President, FICCI, said that India’s ‘Look East’ policy complemented by Thailand’s ‘Look West’ policy has worked towards bringing the two countries closer. Both the countries are important regional partners linking South and Southeast Asia. Business linkages have grown stronger over the years with connectivity improving. Today there are approximately 150 flights a week between India and Thailand. He added that trade is expected to increase many folds once the Trilateral Highway starts running in the next three years and it will open up the larger ASEAN market to our nations.

Sanjay Kirloskar, Member, CII National Council and Chairman & Managing Director, Kirloskar Brothers Limited, said that at a trade engagement close to $10 billion, the Indian industry was keen to participate strongly in building bilateral economic engagement and achieving a trade of $20 billion over the next four years. Indian industry was keen to engage with Thailand on a multidimensional spectrum of sectors. He added that education can be an excellent area of cooperation besides tourism where India would like to undertake a strong branding exercise in Thailand to attract more Thai tourists to its Buddhist and heritage sites.

S.C Aggarwal, Senior Management Committee Member ASSOCHAM & Chairman & Managing Director, SMC Global Securities Limited, said that Indian FDI into Thailand is around US$2 billion since 1970s and the actual inflow of FDI from Thailand into India from April 2000 to August 2014 was close to US$179 million. India is a land of immense opportunities with 50 cities being ready for putting up Metro Rail Systems and 50 million affordable houses to be built. The requirement of road, rail and waterways is enormous and as India has decided to go for renewable energy in a big way – 175 GW, these opportunities open new vistas for trade and investment for Thailand, he added.

A presentation of recommendation of India-Thailand Joint Business Forum (ITJBF) was also made during the session.