Bright future seen for Thai - China food trade links
- August 29, 2012
The Nation August 28, 2012 1:00 am
Opportunities abound for Thailand to generate substantial income from the export of quality food and agricultural products to China, the president of the Thailand Trade Representative Office, said at a seminar yesterday.
Dr Olarn Chaipravat also recommended Thailand work closely with its neighbouring countries to increase food production.
He was speaking at the First ThaiChinese Strategic Research Seminar, which concluded yesterday. Held by the National Research Council of Thailand, the ThaiChinese Culture and Economy Association and Huaqiao University, the seminar was launched on August 24 at the Bangkok Convention Centre, CentralWorld.
HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presided over the opening of the seminar.
Olarn said food products would have great potential to tap into the Chinese market because China’s farmland was shrinking in the face of its industrial expansion.
“Over the next 10 years, Thailand should work with neighbouring countries in producing quality agricultural and food products for the purpose of exporting them to China,” he said.
He also suggested Thai investors relocate their manufacturing bases to Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, where wages would be lower and locally made products would enjoy special privileges in European and US markets.
Krungthep Thanakom chairman Dr Kanok Wongtrangan said Thailand had advantages over many other nations when it came to developing trade ties with China.
“Thai Royals have had good relationships with the Chinese government. Thailand’s location is also an advantage. Moreover, a large number of Thais are of Chinese descent,” Kanok said. “These factors are good for bilateral ties.”
However, he said Thailand lacked qualified human resources for the implementation of ThaiChinese strategies.
“We still lack experts in Chinese language and law,” he pointed out.
Kanok believed Thailand should rapidly train experts in the field and promote collaboration in research.
“The government should also promote the exchange of tourists and students between the two countries,” he said.
Kanok said human resources are the key to driving all strategies ahead. He hoped Thailand would be able to acquire at least one million experts in Chinese affairs.
Charoen Pokphand Group executive vice president Dr Sarasin Viraphol, who spoke at the seminar last Friday, said China was now the most important trade partner for Thailand and Asean.
“Thailand has exported a huge volume of rubber and chemical products to China,” he said.
He said relationships between the two nations were often described as “winwin”.
Sarasin saw an even brighter future for many business sectors if China, Thailand and other Asean nations could utilise existing opportunities and put down proper systems.
Such industries included food, tourism, media, education, medical services, sports and agriculture