News / Asia

Thailand, China Set Aggressive Targets to Increase Trade

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L) walks with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra during a welcoming ceremony at the Government House in Bangkok, November 21, 2012.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L) walks with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra during a welcoming ceremony at the Government House in Bangkok, November 21, 2012.
Ron Corben
— Thailand and China have agreed to further boost economic ties during a high-level visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiaboa to Bangkok. Analysts say the visit, following soon after that of U.S. President Barack Obama, highlights increased interest in Southeast Asia’s positive economic outlook.

Talks between Wen and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Wednesday were intended to build on a major trading agreement between China and Thailand, announced in April this year.

Under the pact set out for five years, the governments agree to ambitious targets to expand trade and investment, as well as tourism, aiming to raise bilateral trade up to 15 percent a year.

Wen focuses on Thailand

In an address to reporters, Wen said China sees Thailand as an important trading partner. He said both nations agreed to implement the five-year plan on development and trade with a strengthening of cooperation and mutual investment in agriculture, and projects linked to traffic management, water resources and infrastructure.

Yingluck also supported the calls for greater cooperation in the agricultural sector. She said the Chinese government is interested in buying agricultural produce, especially rice.

During the talks, China agreed to purchase more rice from Thailand, both at a state and private-sector level.  

Reports this week said Thailand had hoped to sell up to 5 million metric tons of rice to China in a bid to reduce rice stocks that the government has accumulated under a controversial rice pledging program that sets government buying rates above the international market.

US emphasizes Asia-Pacific

China’s purchases of Thai rice have fallen by more than 50 percent this year, since the program was introduced. At the meeting Thursday, China agreed to buy 260,000 tons of rice.

The agreement Thursday follows just days after Obama visited during a trip to promote Washington’s increased focus on trade and diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific.

The United States renewed a long-standing security pact with Thailand and a U.S.-sponsored Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), largely a free trade area between the U.S. and Asia-Pacific countries.

Competing interests

Somphob Manarangsan, a professor of economics, said the recent visits of the senior leaders from both countries stand in contrast, as China has strong economic ties to the region, while the United States’ key strength has been in security areas, but weaker in economic ties.

“You can see that when President Obama came to this area [the U.S.] try to sell the idea of the TPP - that means to have this improvement of the economic cooperation by the USA with countries of this area," said Manarangsan. "But Mr. Wen Jiabao - they try to use some cultural factor, education, social, like the opening up of the Chinese cultural centers here in Thailand using the soft power to deal more and more with this area.”

Somphob said that although countries like Thailand so far have been able to strike a balance between Beijing and Washington, that may become harder in the near future as trade, business and investments increase.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
November 21, 2012 12:35 PM
China is playing very smart and successfully.

A super power is rising!

In Response

by: Joel Bayan from: New jersey
November 24, 2012 9:25 AM
The difference is the US focuses more on security than economic. There is no transparency or oversight for corruption with China and Thailand, hence follow the money! China's leaders pocket millions of yuan and the Thai politicians get their baht. Quite a deal at the expense of the people! China has a large population, larger country in size and with that comes problems that will be larger than they can handle. I wouldn't call them a "super power rising", but I would say that their problems will rise quicker than their powers!

As the good professor points out that... "Somphob Manarangsan, a professor of economics, said the recent visits of the senior leaders from both countries stand in contrast, as China has strong economic ties to the region, while the United States’ key strength has been in security areas, but weaker in economic ties."

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid