PM delivers remarks at ‘Thailand – France Business Forum’ in Paris

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin attended and deliver the remarks at the Thailand – France Business Forum.

At L’Apostrophe Business Center, Paris, Republic of France, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin attended and deliver the remarks at the Thailand – France Business Forum. Deputy Government Spokesperson Radklao Inthawong Suwankiri disclosed gist of his remarks as follows:

The Prime Minister expressed appreciation for a very warm welcome, and stated that France was the first country in Europe he made an official visit after taking office. His second visit in the span of three months demonstrates the strong relations between the two countries.

Last month, he invited the CEO of Comité Colbert to Thailand to experience first-hand Thai culture and craftsmanship. According to the Prime Minister, Thailand hopes to learn from and collaborate with a powerhouse like France to strengthen its creative economy industries. He added that top companies from Thailand joined him on this visit, and emphasized that it was his and President Macron’s commitment to set a stage for the private sectors to meet, connect, and collaborate. Thailand – France Business Forum will be a good kick-start.

Thailand is France’s third-largest trading partner in ASEAN. The Prime Minister believed that under his administration, the country can and should be France’s largest partner in the region as business partnership between the two countries is strong. On people-to-people front, there are around 30,000 Thais living in France. While around 40,000 French nationals are living in Thailand, the second highest number of French expats in Asia. Last year, about 270,000 tourists from France visited Thailand while France welcomed almost 200,000 Thais.

Recently, the Thai government has just launched the “IGNITE THAILAND” vision to elevate Thailand into a global hub in eight sectors. These are tourism, wellness & medical, agriculture & food, aviation, logistics, future mobility, digital economy, and finance. This vision presents vast potentials for French companies interested in investing in Thailand which the Prime Minister also shared some highlights as follows:

First is logistics. With Thailand’s strategic location, the government aims to make Thailand the connectivity hub of Southeast Asia and beyond. The country’s flagship mega project, the “Landbridge”, is underway. This will play an essential part in connecting trade and logistical route from the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean. When finished, the Landbridge will also open further possibilities for land and sea transport connectivity with various partners.

Second is aviation. Thailand aims to become the aviation hub for both passengers and goods. The government is accelerating plans to build new airports and upgrade many existing ones in various parts of the country. The development of Aviation Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) is also planned which will enable Thailand to become a full-service aviation hub. The Prime Minister invited France to tap into this opportunity.

Third is digital. Thailand has a strong foundation with extensive 5G-internet coverage and strong digital infrastructure. On top of that, Thai people are very active on digital platforms, and mobile payments have become the norm. With this strong foundation, the government wants to make Thailand the digital economy hub in the region. Success of these projects can make Thailand a gateway to the Indo-Pacific region which is in line with France’s Indo-Pacific strategy.

The Prime Minister also expressed sincere hope to receive France’s support towards the finalizing of the Thai-EU FTA. Once signed, it is predicted that EU’s exports to Thailand will be increased by over 40% and expand Thailand’s exports to the EU by over 25%. He trusted that private sectors from both countries hold the keys towards successful negotiation of the FTA.

While giving high priority to economic development, the Prime Minister emphasized that global challenges need to be addressed as well. Sustainability remains on top of the Thai government’s agenda. The country’s green transition goal is one of the most ambitious in Southeast Asia, and a complete roadmap has been put in place to have 50% of energy production be renewable by 2040. Later today one of Thailand’s major agri-food companies will sign a significant MoU contributing to sustainable mobility. Thailand aspires to be the hub for future mobility, especially for the whole value chain of the EV industry. The country is also looking into green hydrogen and Small Module Reactor (SMR) as tools to enable greener manufacturing.

In conclusion, the Prime Minister underlined two key points: First, he believed that more people-to-people contacts bring about greater understanding, trust, and confidence. Therefore, he encouraged Thai and French people to reach out and visit each other as much as possible. Thailand facilitates visits by granting visa-free entry and stay to French nationals, and hopes to receive France’s support on visa exemption in the Schengen area for Thai passport holders. Second, Thailand is OPEN for BUSINESS, with clear policy direction and favorable incentives. It is the government’s strong commitment that what should be done, will be done, in order to facilitate and support the private sector. The Prime Minister expressed hope to see Franco-Thai economic and business partnership blossom, and that the participants find this Forum fruitful.

Thailand – France Business Forum is successfully held with an aim to build upon the momentum of the Prime Minister’s official visit to France on March 11, 2024. The Forum promotes mutual trade and investment in the potential fields of mutual interest, that are, 1) Energy 2) Circular industry 3) Mobility / Construction / Transportation 4) Food & Beverages 5) Hospitality and 6) Sustainable Cities. (PRD)


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