BANGKOK, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Thailand has been stepping up concrete cooperation with China by upgrading Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between China and ASEAN, especially expanding mini FTAs with cities and provinces of China, Thailand's deputy prime minister Jurin Laksanawisit has said.
The deputy prime minister made the remarks at the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
"The two countries enjoy practical cooperations under mechanisms including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and mini FTAs between Thailand and provinces of China like Hainan and Gansu," said Jurin, also minister of commerce, at a press conference.
The Thai side has asked to expand the Thai-Hainan Mini FTA with success seen in negotiations over the sales of goods and joint training sessions for business operators from Thailand and Hainan, he noted.
This resulted in the bilateral trade value rising by 91.9 percent in 2022 to 18.2 billion baht (about 527 million U.S. dollars), he said.
"We will expand trades with more places (in China) including Shenzhen and Yunnan province through such mini FTAs in the near future."
The press conference also announced the World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention (WCEC) will kick off in Bangkok on June 24.
"The Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce has been contributing significantly to promoting economic cooperations and people-to-people exchanges between Thailand and China. I believe the WCEC this year will be an impressive event with fruitful results," said Jurin.
China was the largest trading partner of Thailand in 2022, with a bilateral trade value reaching 3.69 trillion baht (about 107 billion U.S. dollars), which accounted for about 18 percent of Thailand's total foreign trade volume, according to him.
Narongsak Putthapornmongkol, president of the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, said the gathering is expected to help expedite the country's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and promote Thailand among Chinese businesses worldwide.
He added that the WCEC, which will be held on June 24-26 at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre, where the APEC 2022 was held, is expected to welcome more than 3,000 attendees.
Registration for the event opens in early March.
Founded in 1991, the WCEC is an important biennial event for Chinese entrepreneurs around the globe. It aims at establishing an economic network linking Chinese entrepreneurs worldwide. ■