A dialogue with the Russian Trade representative for Thailand

From the outset I want to point that our talk is an interview. Indeed, in interview, one tells and usually it is his goal simply to recommend his company, and advertise himself. I would wish that we had a dialogue and we could talk openly, otherwise, the article filled with adds would be not interesting to readers. So there will be two interlocutors: the Russia's trade representative in Thailand Oleg Maslennikov and Executive director of the Thai-Russian chamber of commerce Surat Rakhimbabaev. Less words, more action

I guess it is clear that my special interest is in positive steps in the Russian-Thai business relations. The present situation with falling Russian ruble and Thai Baht does not leave hopes for business renaissance between two countries. According to the Russian statistics the trade turn over in a first half of the year dropped on …. %. At the same time we have got a great target to increase trade turn over by 10 billion US dollars by 2017. The economic situation does not show positive signed for business recovery and buoyancy. We heard, the Russians expressed their intention to develop cooperation with Thailand in the field of civil aviation and proposed a discussion to promote "MC-21" and 'SSJ 100' aircrafts in Thailand. Actually, Thailand welcomes Russia's direct contact with the interested private aviation companies in Thailand. After the Sixth session of the joint Russian-Thai commission on bilateral cooperation? which took place in Moscow in July this year both countries took note of the recent signing of the purchase contract of "Sukhoi Superjet" by the Thai government. On top of it, Russia also proposed that State owned company "Helicopters of Russia" holds expert consultations with state and private Thai agencies on a range of Russian helicopters that will be suitable for civil use. Is it one and only big deal of the present cooperation and the Commission's results.

Mr. Maslennikov: I need to say about more point sof cooperation. Just for example, the Russian "United Engine-building Corporation" OJSC with Thai energy companies in the field of the construction of power plants, gas-fueled reciprocating power plants, as well as cogeneration power plants based on Russian gas-turbine technologies. Another promising project of both countries is

the possibility of Russian companies' to participate in the Thai program of railroad network development, both inter-city and suburban, particularly by supplying the track-laying and road-building equipment, through international tender, including supplying freight wagons and tank containers of different types for the development program, construction or modernization of the National Railways of Thailand.

And probably, one of the most ambitious project of two countries is the developing cooperation between Russian giant "Gazprom" and Thai companies to supply of LNG to Thailand under competitive price. Thailand took note of the Russian "Arctic LNG Project" and the possibility of cooperation on LNG supplies under competitive price in the future.

One more hot topic is Russia noted the successful experience of large-scale satellite navigation projects implemented by Russia's Navigation Services Provider "GLONASS Union" may be replicated in Thailand

Mr. Rakhimbabaev: It was noted, Thailand and Russia just finished detailed discussion on adoption of the "Program of Russian-Thai Scientific and Technical Cooperation (2015 – 2020)", which has been drafted. What this program is about? Mr. maslennikov: The program contents projects in the field of science, technology and innovations made in the interests of social and economic development of Russia and Thailand.

Moreover, recognizing the need to prepare our human resources to meet the changing demand of the global marketplace, both countries devoted the great importance to the exchange of students, teachers, and researchers and the promotion of Thai Studies and Russian Studies and of the teaching of Thai l and Russian languages. With regard to our relations in the sphere of culture and education, Russia plans to continue to train Thai students at its universities. providing them the state scholarships for these purposes. Russia stressed down, that this is an important investment in the future of two countries' relations and agreed to prepare an extensive program of cultural events to celebrate the anniversary of Russia and Thailand's diplomatic relations in 2017, and to publish a collection of archival documents. So, these topics also were in the focus of our attention.

Mr.Rakhimbabaev: I want to remind that during his visit in Thailand in April 2015, the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev noted that tourism is an important area of our cooperation and also allows our people to understand each other better. "Thailand has become a favorite holiday destination for vast numbers of the Russian people. Last year, about 1.6 million Russian tourists visited Thailand. But that was last year, this summer Thai tourist operators report about a serious drop of Russian tourists and that is a whop on the Thailand's economy.

Mr. Maslennikov: Russia and Thailand decided to promote the development and strengthening of bilateral dialogue in culture, tourism and environmental protection, adaptation to global warming, and the promotion of green and sustainable development, among other things, the sharing of best practices of "green" growth and development "green" cities in order to promote sustainable development in both countries. Unfortunately, this year tourist's flow from Russia to Thailand seriously run aground, probably on forty percent compare to the same period of the last year. Definitely, Thai colleagues are willing to provide assistance and support in stabilizing these issues and we all hope that by the pick season the Russians get back to Thailand's resorts. But I do not think that at present the absence of Russian tourists gives a "whop" as you say. Tourists from China already invaded this gap.

Mr.Rakhimbabaev: Business is waiting for fruitful results from cooperation. Let us not go off like a damp squib. Less words, more action.
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