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Chiang Rai meeting probes Thai-China trade barriers

Bangkok Post

Chiang Rai meeting probes Thai-China trade barriers

19 December 2005

Thai News Agency

Chiang Rai - Thailand and China have begun a joint meeting here to strengthen ties and remove trade barriers, hoping to increase bilateral trade under the free trade area (FTA) framework.

Presiding over the seminar on Sino-Thai Trade, Investment and Economic Cooperation in this northernmost province on Tuesday, Deputy Transport Minister Preecha Laohapongchana said the meeting would focus on the fruit and vegetable trade between the two countries.

He said Yunnan Governor Liu Ping led a team of more than 100 businesspeople for talks on greater cooperation on trade and investment issues. Negotiations centred on problems associated with the import and export of fruit and vegetables.

Sino-Thai trade under the FTA had increased to more than US$8 billion in the first 10 months of this year, from $7.12 billion since October 1, 2003.

Mr. Preecha said the continuing cooperation and visits by delegations from each side would help boost bilateral trade and investment, and ease possible misunderstanding of the agreement and obstacles to trade.

�We believe each seminar and mutual visit by the two sides will help increase the value of trade and investment up to $50 billion and $5-6 billion respectively, as targeted in the next five years.

�It will also help raise the number of tourists to up to four million in the period,� he said.

Mr. Preecha expressed confidence the establishment of the Sino-Thai FTA would not put Thailand�s trade balance in deficit as many had feared.

He said Thailand had enjoyed a surplus with China of more than nine billion baht in the fruit and vegetable trade since the FTA was established in October 2003.