On April 27, 2015 in Dusit Thani Hotel, Bangkok there was an annual meeting of the Thai-Russian Chamber of Commerce (TRCC), which gathered not only members of TRCC but also guests from Chamber of Commerce of Thailand, Thai Federation of Industrials , Thai Thai-Russian Business Council and Presidents of Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand. The meeting was opened by the President of TRCC Dr. Sombat, who gave a floor to the Russian Ambassador to Thailand Dr. Kirill Barsky.
The Russian Ambassador in his opening speech to distinguished guests noted that the very fact that TRCC together with its predecessor – the Thai-Russian Trade Association has been for more than 15 years active in promoting trade and economic cooperation between our two countries is highly appreciated and he is pleased to see the organization growing both in size and authority. It is known and respected not only within the Thai business community, but also among related government agencies as well.
Definitely, Dr. Barky could not avoid to deliver some information regarding the current state and future development of Russian-Thai relations, especially trade and economic cooperation, which may prove useful to Thai businessmen in shaping strategies for the coming years. He attracted the audience attention with the most recent highlight in Russian-Thai bilateral relations, first of all to the official visit to Thailand of the Chairman of the Russian government H.E. Dmitry Medvedev, which took place on April 7-8. Speaking about bilateral trade and economic cooperation one must note that Thailand is Russia's biggest trading partner among ASEAN countries and one of the most important business allies in the Asia-Pacific region. The favorable shifts towards more intensive Russian-Thai trade and economic cooperation that have emerged in recent years have led to a steady increase in bilateral trade. In accordance with Federal Customs service of Russia in 2014 our bilateral trade turnover almost reached 4 billion USD (while according to Thai statistical data the turnover figure has reached 4,9 billion USD), representing a 18,7 % increase as compared to the previous year. The Russian Ambassador in his speech to the Thai businessmen pointed out that
Russian oil, hot-rolled steel, fertilizers and chemicals, precious stones, pulp and paper as before constituted the bulk of Russian exports to Thailand. While Russian imports from Thailand are mainly comprised of cars, auto spare parts, machinery, chemicals, rice, seafood, fruits and vegetables, pearls, precious stones and metals, textiles and other products. Among other high potential areas of cooperation and possible projects for mutual business activity there is a good room in the area of bio-technology which may be highly beneficial for Thailand not only in terms of bio-fuel production, but more importantly, for the future of its agriculture and food industry. He reminded that Russia's expertise in railway construction and operation as in freight rolling stock production may also prove to be useful taking into account Thailand's plans to expand its railway system.
Dr. Barsky applied to the Thai businessmen to pay a special attention to prospective mutually beneficial projects in such fields as joint construction of energy power plants in Thailand and providing sustainable electricity supply for the needs of fast growing Thai economy, introducing high-end technology in construction area and development of public transport navigation technologies. Answering a question of the TRCC member on Russian interest to some products from Thailand, Dr. Barsky noted that Thai business might get a success not only in the development of auto spare parts production but also in food industry. Russia already sees a steady increase in Thai food exports to Russia. Last December there was the first ever shipment of Thai pork to Russia. We already have a successful example of the CP Group's project in Russia and the Thai Company "Sutech -Engineering" just finished negotiation with the Russian authorities on construction of the sugar plant in the Far East.
With all the goodwill and sincere desire on the part of the Governments of both countries to promote Russian - Thai trade and economic cooperation and of course, the private sector of both countries, we can hit the target to increase the turnover between two countries up to 10 billion US dollars in 2016. Finally, he finished his speech with assurances to reiterate the continued support of the Russian Embassy, The Russian Trade Representation as well as his personal backing for all endeavors of the Thai-Russian Chamber aimed at promoting friendly and mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation with Russia.
The President of TRCC in his reply mentioned that definitely, there are numerous opportunity for mutual investment and joint business activity between our two countries. And in order to realize these opportunities considerable efforts are needed both on part of the Governments of our countries as well as the private sector.
Business communities of both countries should facilitate their contacts directly in the most efficient way and the Thai-Russian Chamber of Commerce shall play an important part in achieving this goal. Permanent channels for the exchange of market information should be created as well as databases on bilateral opportunities and companies seeking partners in both countries.
After discussion of the Thai-Russian business opportunities, routine procedure of the annual meeting ( budget , changing in the charter etc) the TRCC announced the plan of its activity in 2015-2016 and discussed the panning trip to Vladivostok and Khabarvsk. The serious interest was performed by the Chamber's members to the participation in the Forum/Business mission, which is to take place in May-June 2015. Thai businessmen declared that round-tables and direct negotiations between Thai and Russian companies on the Forum can be very useful for further business contacts and benefit for both countries.
The meeting was continued with the reception in the Dusit Thani Hotel, where guests did get an opportunity to enjoy some Russian meals and vodka.