Trade between Thailand and Russia rose to five billion US dollars in 2012, tripling the amount recorded three years ago. Both countries agreed to increase bilateral trade to 10 billion dollars in 2016.
The agreement was reached at the 5th Session of the Thailand-Russia Joint Commission on Bilateral Relations, held in Moscow on 29 March 2013.
Representing Thailand at the session was Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, who called on both countries to look ahead with a vision to include new areas of cooperation in order to bring the long-lasting Thailand-Russia relations to a new era of strategic partnership.
According to a report from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand invited Russia to participate in infrastructure projects planned to enhance regional connectivity and support ASEAN integration into an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. AEC will be a large market for Russian products in the future. Thailand can serve as a production base and a gateway to Southeast Asia for Russia, while Russia can serve as a bridge linking Thailand to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries.
Both sides viewed food security as an important issue and agreed to step up cooperation in the field of agriculture, increase bilateral trade in agricultural products, and promote investment in the related industries. They also agreed to develop technical cooperation in science and technology, communications, and culture, which will not only support the exchange of knowledge but also enhance people-to-people contact.
Thailand and Russia agreed to explore the possibility of setting up a working group on tourism to promote tourism and to protect the safety of Thai and Russian tourists, taking into account that in 2012 over 1.3 million Russian tourists came to Thailand, while some 50,000 Thai tourists went to Russia.
Thailand urged Russia to import more Thai agricultural products, such as rice, rubber, canned fruits, frozen seafood, and frozen and processed chicken. Russia is now Thailand’s largest trading partner in Eastern Europe.
Mr. Surapong called for more frequent and regular exchanges between Thai and Russian academic institutions. He asked Russia to consider giving Thai students more flexibility to choose universities in Russia, as well as their fields of study. He also wished to see more Thai students going to study at leading universities in Russia.
On cooperation in science and technology, he urged relevant agencies to exchange their experts in research and conduct joint scientific projects, especially in the fields of nanotechnology and medical science.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is expected to pay an official visit to Russia in the middle of 2013. She has invited Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, to pay an official visit to Thailand before or after the APEC Summit in Bali, Indonesia, at the end of 2013.