Thailand, Sri Lanka to push trade to $1b

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Thailand Sri LankaThai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse on May 31 agreed to forge closer economic ties and double bilateral trade to $1 billion within the next three to five years, following closer cooperation in the public and private sectors, it emerged during a state visit of Thailand’s leader to the South Asian island nation.

In 2012, bilateral trade value between the two countries was $545.3 million. Thailand locked into a trade surplus with Sri Lanka worth $361.5 million, according to official Thai figures.

Shinawatra inked several business agreements with Sri Lanka just one day after her meeting with India’s prime minister Manmohan Singh in Bangkok. The high-profile visits indicate that Thailand’s ‘Look West’ policy is finally gaining latent momentum.

Duminda Ariyasinghe, executive director of the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, said that Sri Lanka was keen to attract more investment from Thailand. Sectors of interest for Thai investors in Sri Lanka included tourism and recreation, agro-based industries, food processing, manufacturing, IT, as well as infrastructure development in areas of construction and telecommunications, he said.

At the moment, Malaysia is the biggest investor in Sri Lanka among ASEAN countries with $1.26 billion of investments in 2012, followed by Singapore with $548 million and Thailand with just $25 million.

During her visit, Shinawatra encouraged partnerships with Sri Lanka to strengthen tourism and technology, highlighting information security at a time when fears over cyber warfare are heightening.

The two leaders also agreed to augment their defense relations and cooperation for maritime security, an issue that continues to boil between China and ASEAN nations.

Sri Lanka’s committment to supporting Thai security efforts mirrors nicely with India, who signed an extradition treaty deal with Thailand on May 30. With India now announcing support for the Thailand-backed Dawei industrial complex in Myanmar, South Asia could become more quickly integrated into the ASEAN region by using Thailand as a preferred gateway.

The blooming bilateral ties with South Asia also bring Thailand more options with defending its stature in Asia against the aggressive claims of China, as well as regional disputes with Cambodia.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse on May 31 agreed to forge closer economic ties and double bilateral trade to $1 billion within the next three to five years, following closer cooperation in the public and private sectors, it emerged during a state visit of Thailand’s leader to the South Asian island nation.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Thailand Sri LankaThai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse on May 31 agreed to forge closer economic ties and double bilateral trade to $1 billion within the next three to five years, following closer cooperation in the public and private sectors, it emerged during a state visit of Thailand’s leader to the South Asian island nation.

In 2012, bilateral trade value between the two countries was $545.3 million. Thailand locked into a trade surplus with Sri Lanka worth $361.5 million, according to official Thai figures.

Shinawatra inked several business agreements with Sri Lanka just one day after her meeting with India’s prime minister Manmohan Singh in Bangkok. The high-profile visits indicate that Thailand’s ‘Look West’ policy is finally gaining latent momentum.

Duminda Ariyasinghe, executive director of the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, said that Sri Lanka was keen to attract more investment from Thailand. Sectors of interest for Thai investors in Sri Lanka included tourism and recreation, agro-based industries, food processing, manufacturing, IT, as well as infrastructure development in areas of construction and telecommunications, he said.

At the moment, Malaysia is the biggest investor in Sri Lanka among ASEAN countries with $1.26 billion of investments in 2012, followed by Singapore with $548 million and Thailand with just $25 million.

During her visit, Shinawatra encouraged partnerships with Sri Lanka to strengthen tourism and technology, highlighting information security at a time when fears over cyber warfare are heightening.

The two leaders also agreed to augment their defense relations and cooperation for maritime security, an issue that continues to boil between China and ASEAN nations.

Sri Lanka’s committment to supporting Thai security efforts mirrors nicely with India, who signed an extradition treaty deal with Thailand on May 30. With India now announcing support for the Thailand-backed Dawei industrial complex in Myanmar, South Asia could become more quickly integrated into the ASEAN region by using Thailand as a preferred gateway.

The blooming bilateral ties with South Asia also bring Thailand more options with defending its stature in Asia against the aggressive claims of China, as well as regional disputes with Cambodia.

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