In his opening remarks, Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit affirmed his country views Vietnam as a partner of leading importance in Southeast Asia, and that it attaches importance to bolstering economic and trade ties with Vietnam.
He highlighted the increase in the two-way trade, thanking the Vietnamese Government and agencies for creating optimal conditions for enterprises and organisations of Thailand.
Apart from the proposals listed in the meeting’s minutes, he asked Vietnam to create favourable conditions for goods to be transited under the agreements signed within the Greater Mekong Subregion and ASEAN frameworks, chicken and some fruits of Thailand licensed, and pharmaceuticals registered.
He also called for expanding labour cooperation under the memorandum of understanding between the two countries’ labour ministries.
Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien said the initiatives, measures, and concrete actions devised at the meeting will create new impulses for bilateral economic and trade relations, along with the countries’ coordination within ASEAN and other multilateral and regional cooperation frameworks.
The two sides reviewed cooperation outcomes and shortcomings in trade and relevant areas since the third meeting held in 2018.
They applauded the positive growth in bilateral trade which stood at 18.8 billion USD in 2021, up 17.9 percent year on year despite impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The officials agreed to actively coordinate and facilitate import and export activities between the two countries towards a mutually beneficial and more balanced trade. They also identified ways for strengthening links in agriculture, transport connectivity, and investment.
Vietnam and Thailand agreed to boost coordination and mutual support at sub-regional, regional, and multilateral mechanisms like ASEAN, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Asia - Europe Meeting (ASEM), the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), the Mekong - Lancang Cooperation, the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
To ease the pandemic’s impacts on regional economies, they also agreed to tighten cooperation in implementing and upgrading the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) and ASEAN Plus free trade agreements, with a focus on measures for facilitating trade, removing non-tariff barriers, and enhancing transparency so as to ensure uninterrupted goods flows and consolidate intra-ASEAN trade and regional supply chains, thereby contributing to post-pandemic regional economic recovery.
Talking to the Vietnam News Agency, Minister Dien said both countries are determined to develop increasingly extensive, effective, and substantive relations on the basis of mutual respect and understanding, and win-win cooperation at all levels and in all fields.
Thailand is the largest trade partner and export market of Vietnam in ASEAN, and also ranks ninth among the foreign investors in Vietnam which, in turn, is the second biggest trade partner of Thailand in the bloc.
The two sides are dynamic economies in the Asia-Pacific region and boast much potential for further stepping up their trade and partnerships in relevant aspects, including energy, transport, logistics, finance, banking, agriculture, and investment. Both are also members of many free trade agreements (FTAs), including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Given this, they are holding major opportunities for reinforcing ties within regional supply chains and production networks so as to effectively tap into FTAs, according to Dien.