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Stick to the Original Mission and Contribute to China-Thailand Friendship — An exclusive interview with H.E. Narongsak Putthapornmongkol, Chairman of the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce

2020-08-20 17:46:23   By:中国东盟传媒网    Hits:

Long before China and Thailand established formal diplomatic relations, Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce (formerly known as the Siam Chinese Chamber of Commerce, hereinafter referred to as the TCCC) had been an important non-governmental organization to promote friendly exchanges between the governments and people of China and Thailand. Founded in 1910, the TCCC has a history of more than 100 years. 2020 marks the 110th anniversary of its founding.

Today, the TCCC, as always, has fulfilled its original aspiration and mission. Under the leadership of Mr. Narongsak Putthapornmongkol, the 27th Chairman of the TCCC, the TCCC has continued to strengthen its confidence and forge ahead. On the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Thailand, TAP made an exclusive interview with Mr. Narongsak Putthapornmongkol.

Mr. Narongsak Putthapornmongkol, the Chairman of Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce

Focus on four aspects to promote in-depth cooperation between China and Thailand

Mr. Narongsak Putthapornmongkol said that the TCCC had a history of 110 years. In the past, Chinese businessmen moved to Thailand to make a living. They gradually integrated into the local area to set up their own businesses. In the early days of its establishment, in addition to promoting the development of trade between China and Thailand, the TCCC also provided convenience and assistance to the vast number of overseas Chinese in Thailand, and even played an important role in issuing documents and notarizing materials, like the Chinese embassy or consulate.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Thailand in 1975, the TCCC has become a center gathering overseas Chinese in Thailand and more than 50 China-Thailand trade and economic Chambers of Commerce, continuously making great contributions to enhancing friendship, strengthening economic and trade cooperation, and promoting cultural exchanges between China and Thailand.

The board of directors of this session is committed to building the TCCC into a non-governmental organization that plays an important role in promoting China-Thailand economic and trade cooperation in an all-round way, so as to provide convenience for the large number of Chinese enterprises, especially the small and medium-sized Chinese enterprises investing in Thailand.

Mr. Narongsak Putthapornmongkol said that as the 27th Chairman of the TCCC, he hoped to further consolidate and develop China-Thailand relations through the following four aspects.

First, attracting investment from China, especially high-tech enterprises in China; second, expanding exports to China; third, promoting the docking of Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and China’s Belt and Road Initiative, thus to achieve common prosperity; fourth, promoting cross-border E-commerce cooperation between the two countries, and further advancing the development of Thailand’s E-commerce industries.

The epidemic has promoted closer relations between China and Thailand

Mr. Narongsak Putthapornmongkol became the Chairman of the TCCC on February 10, 2020. It was a great challenge for the new Chairman since both countries were suffering the COVID-19 at that time. Previously, measures to prevent the COVID-19 were taken to suspend social and economic activities. But it didn’t stop the TCCC from moving forward. Under the situation, the TCCC has continued to make contributions to the development of bilateral relations, and held the first ever meeting of the Thai Chinese TCCC and Industry Associations online, with more than 50 Chambers of Commerce participating in the meeting.

Mr. Narongsak Putthapornmongkol donated money against the epidemic to the Chinese government on behalf of the TCCC. Yang Xin, Charge d’ Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Thailand received the donation

After the epidemic eased in Thailand, in order to resume the normal exchanges between Chinese and Thailand investors, overseas students and small travel groups, the TCCC cooperated with tourism related industry and associations under the “travel bubble” agreement between China and Thailand, and put forward “suggestions on the revitalization of Thailand-China tourism pilot project after the epidemic”.

“In the past, we made many plans to strengthen economic and trade cooperation between China and Thailand. Although a sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 has been shutting down many economic activities, we need to follow the original plan and redouble our efforts to revive the economy. After the epidemic, we will organize Thai enterprises to participate in the China International Import Expo to be held in Shanghai in November 2020, which China has held for three consecutive years. In addition, we will strive to achieve the goal of attracting investors from 30 provinces of China to invest in Thailand,” said Mr. Narongsak Putthapornmongkol.

Given to the influence of the COVID-19 and the Sino-US trade friction, China and Asia’s supply chains and industry chains have been gradually reconstructing. The relationship between China and other Asian countries will be closer and stronger.

After the epidemic, inviting Chinese investors to invest in Thailand is both an opportunity and a challenge, especially for the EEC. Thai government is committed to developing itself into a gateway of Southeast Asia. According to Mr. Narongsak Putthapornmongkol, in order to expand the scale of bilateral trade and investment, the TCCC has specially set up a new team to take charge of the coordination of exchanges and visits between enterprises of the two countries.

In addition to the Chinese high-tech enterprises settled in Thailand, the TCCC also found that the innovative technology-based small and medium-sized enterprises invested by China in Thailand also have great potential. Most of their businesses are related to China, such as conducting import and export trade with China. With a strong network and thousands of business members from more than 50 Chambers of Commerce, the TCCC will be able to provide effective support and convenience for the Chinese enterprises investing in Thailand.

China and Thailand join hands to march towards the future

Mr. Narongsak Putthapornmongkol said that Thailand and China formally established diplomatic relations in 1975 and ushered in the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2020. The improvement of the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries has further promoted the close relations and practical cooperation. Thailand has always attached great importance to promoting friendly relations with Chinese local governments, especially those provinces of strategic importance to Thailand, such as Guangdong, Yunnan and Guangxi.

In terms of politics, China and Thailand are based on the principles of mutual respect, mutual trust and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. The two countries have close cultural relations and have never had disputes over history, territory and territorial waters.

Economic cooperation is the core of China-Thailand relations. Today, China is Thailand’s largest trading partner, while Thailand is China’s 11th largest trading partner, ranking third among ASEAN countries (after Vietnam and Malaysia).

According to the latest data released by the Ministry of Commerce of Thailand, in May 2020, Thailand’s exports to China reached US$ 2.9093 billion, an increase of 15.3%; in the first five months, Thailand’s total exports to China amounted to US$ 12.2211 million, an increase of 4.7%, accounting for 12.5% of Thailand’s total exports. The main export products are fruits (fresh, refrigerated and dried), automobiles and their parts, rubber products, circuit boards, computers and their parts.

Fruit is one of Thailand’s main products exporting to China


In terms of investment, by the end of 2019, China’s accumulated direct investment in Thailand was about US$ 8 billion. China tended to invest in new innovative technology industries, new industries, logistics and E-commerce industries. As of the end of September 2019, Thailand’s total accumulated direct investment in China was about US$ 4344.48 million (from January to September 2020 only, Thailand’s direct investment in China was US$ 74.48 million).

According to the data of the first five months of 2020, Chinese enterprises have submitted 82 investment applications to the Investment Promotion Council (BOI) of Thailand, with a total investment of 15.069 billion baht (about RMB 2.35 billion yuan), accounting for the highest proportion of projects and investment in total foreign investment.

“Thailand has many advantages in the perspective of Chinese investors. For example, Thailand maintains political and social harmony and stability. Besides, it is located in a regional strategic area and boasts good infrastructure construction, being ready to promote regional connectivity. Because of this strategic advantage, Thailand has become a transportation hub for ASEAN and China, especially for land transport. China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Thailand’s EEC plan are highly compatible. Once the China-Thailand high-speed railway is completed, it will greatly improve the competitiveness of Thailand,” said Mr. Narongsak Putthapornmongkol.

In addition, Thailand is also the origin of raw materials, industrial parts and intermediate products, such as rubber and rubber products, computers, mechanical equipment and its parts, automobile and its parts, fruits (fresh, refrigerated, frozen, or dried), etc., closely linking with China’s industrial chains and supply chains.

Another important advantage is that China and Thailand has a long-term friendship and close ties, especially in economic, trade and investment cooperation. Besides, there has never been any significant dispute between the two governments.

Mr. Narongsak Putthapornmongkol believed that under the changing international environment and great challenges to recover economy after the epidemic, China and Thailand should combine their advantages to find cooperation opportunities and realize mutual benefit.

China has an advantage in advanced science and technology. It has applied digital, automation, robotics and other technologies to manufacturing and service industries, especially medical and retail industries. Therefore, if the two countries can complement each other, Thailand can gain great opportunities. Because Thailand is now facing labor shortage, relying on the labor of neighboring countries, and lacking of talents in digital economy.

“I believe that in doing business now, we should be open and inclusive, instead of being afraid. We have to seize China’s development opportunities and work together to achieve mutual benefit and win-win results,” said Mr. Narongsak Putthapornmongkol. 

Source: Thailand’s TAP

Editor in Charge: Li Min 




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