|Thai Ambassador to Vietnam Tanee Sangrat
Thailand-Vietnam ties thrived across multiple fields during 2019, including in politics, economics, culture, in addition to people-to-people exchanges at both central and local levels.
The outstanding results seen in ties between the two countries have been manifested by the fact that both nations agreed to upgrade their relationship from a strategic partnership to a strengthened strategic partnership during the third meeting of the Vietnam-Thailand Joint Committee on Bilateral Cooperation which took place between January 24-25, 2019 in Bangkok.
The Thai Ambassador to Vietnam Tanee Sangrat noted that the upgrade to an enhanced strategic partnership has deepened the existing relationship, allowing both countries to rely on one another whilst having the opportunity for mutual development.
He stated that both sides will be able to further step up co-operation in the fields of finance and banking as Vietnam has enacted laws aimed at promoting investment in these areas.
Strong political ties have been maintained through several mutual visits among senior leaders of both countries, which has contributed to setting the foundations for stronger economic co-operation. Simultaneously, Thailand remains the country’s leading trading partner in ASEAN with both sides agreeing to strive to raise two-way trade turnover to US$20 billion by 2020 towards a more balanced and sustainable trade.
Ambassador Sangrat accentuated the close linkages between economic and political co-operation and the close-knit relationship that has formed between Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-o-cha. This mutual bond is expected to add fresh impetus to the ongoing strategic partnership.
Aside from major Thai companies choosing to invest in the country, several new enterprises are seeking opportunities to boost Thai investment in Vietnam, with the current figure estimated to be at US$10.8 billion.
The Thai diplomat said last year saw a number of trade and investment activities capture the attention of investors and businesses of both countries including the expanded Thailand - Vietnam International Trade Promotion Conference in Udon Thani province.
These events are held with the aim of strengthening connectivity among Vietnamese and Thai businesses and overseas Vietnamese enterprises in Thailand, and other countries globally as a means of creating opportunities for trade exchanges and investment promotion, whilst also introducing Vietnam’s business climate to new partners.
2019 also saw the launch of several new air routes that connected localities from both countries, including Hanoi – Chieng Mai, Da Nang – Chieng Mai, and Cam Ranh (Khanh Hoa) - Bangkok. Indeed, the number of Vietnamese people visiting Thailand reached over 1 million with the figure expected to increase further over the course of the coming year.
Elsewhere, the number of Thai nationals visiting Vietnam last year increased by 50 per cent, with culture, education, and people-to-people exchanges further intensifying.
Ambassador Sangrat said that with a long-lasting relationship, both nations have conducted exchange programs to help younger generations gain greater insights into each country’s respective culture.
In addition, the number of Vietnamese people residing in Thailand has reached hundreds of thousands, with the majority located in the northeast of Thailand such as in Nakhorn Phanom and Udonthani.
Regarding the future of relations between Vietnam and Thailand, Ambassador Sangrat said the Thai Embassy will continue to act as a bridge boosting connectivity among businesses and people of both nations.
Moreover, a number of programs aimed at studying the nation’s economic potential will be launched in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, while an education festival is due to take place in March to step up co-operaton in the field of education.
Aside from the Vietnam - Thailand Intergovernmental Conference and a number of other functions to be held this year, several events will be held for start-up businesses in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, and some areas across Bangkok.