PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha told the Thai-Russia Business Dialogue in Moscow yesterday that his government aimed to boost trade five-fold with Russia in the next five years and it wanted to boost economic cooperation.
Last year, the value of bilateral trade between the two countries stood at just US$2.3 billion (Bt81.87 billion) and there is a lot of room for cooperation to increase the volume of trade, he said, noting that this business dialogue was also a good opportunity to discuss more investment opportunities.
Prayut, who went to Russia on Tuesday and will return tomorrow, is there to cement bilateral ties as well as attend a special Asean-Russia summit. He met with his counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in St Petersburg yesterday and is scheduled to call on President Vladimir Putin in Sochi today.
Prayut had earlier said that his government was interested in cooperating with Russia in the defence sector and would purchase some military hardware such as helicopters from the country.
He also told the business forum that his government had tried to fix internal problems, ease the national divide as well as boost ties with countries in the region and outside.
“Thailand is moving towards a perfect democracy and good governance, and it will be developed to catch up with the rapidly changing global environment,” Prayut said.
The Thai economy is only expected to grow by 3 to 3.5 per cent this year, with the growth mostly generated by domestic consumption, tourism and government spending, he said.
He added that his government was trying to introduce reforms so as to make way for sustainable development and invited Russian businesses to seek opportunities in the Kingdom. He also said that Thailand could become a regional hub for Russian business in the Asean region.