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Vietnam, Thailand advance realization of “Three Connections” strategy
Ngoc Mai 12:12, 2024/04/12
Businesses from both countries are encouraged to expand their trade and investment activities, to increase bilateral trade to US$25 billion in a more balanced and sustainable way.

Vietnam and Thailand are expected to set up a joint working group to develop plans for implementing potential collaborative projects under the "Three Connections" strategy, focusing on supply chains, just energy transition, the development of an electric vehicle ecosystem, and high-tech agriculture.

 Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son (l) and his Thai counterpart (r) Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara at the meeting. Source: Bao Quoc Te

This view was shared by Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son and his Thai counterpart Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara at the 5th meeting of the Thailand-Vietnam Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation on April 11.

The meeting’s objective was to comprehensively evaluate the cooperation between the two countries and set directions for implementing high-level agreements to deepen cooperation across all sectors further.

The meeting also prepared for the official visit of the Thai Prime Minister to Vietnam and co-chair the upcoming fourth Vietnam-Thailand joint cabinet meeting.

During the meeting, both sides agreed to hold regular meetings between their foreign ministers to promptly address emerging issues and promote the implementation of high-level agreements.

The two ministers also agreed to encourage businesses from both countries to expand their trade and investment activities and increase bilateral trade to US$25 billion in a more balanced and sustainable manner.

Minister Bui Thanh Son suggested that Thai retail groups continue to serve as a bridge to bring Vietnamese goods to consumers through distribution channels in Thailand. He also expressed his desire for Thailand to expedite risk assessment, licensing, and market access for certain Vietnamese fresh fruits such as pomelo, custard apple, star apple, rambutan, and passion fruit.

Both sides also agreed to coordinate and work with other ASEAN members to uphold the bloc’s principled stance on the East Sea issue and ensure peace, stability, security, cooperation, and development in the region. They emphasized that disputes should be resolved through peaceful means based on international law and the United Nations Charter while respecting the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.

Since the fourth Joint Committee meeting in November 2021, despite the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, cooperation between the two countries has achieved significant positive results political trust has increased. Thailand has maintained its position as Vietnam's largest trading partner in ASEAN and is the ninth-largest investor in Vietnam. Bilateral trade exceeded $20 billion as of 2022.

Cooperation in other key areas such as defense and security, education and training, culture, tourism, finance, and people-to-people exchanges has continued progressing well. The two countries also have the highest number of local partnership agreements in the region, with 19 pairs.

 The Vietnamese Minister and Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin. 

Commitment to promote cooperation on both sides

Earlier in the day, in a meeting with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, Minister Son emphasized that one of the most important objectives of this visit to Thailand was to discuss with the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs preparations for Prime Minister Srettha's upcoming visit to Vietnam. Son acknowledged that the cooperative relationship between Vietnam and Thailand is at its best, suggesting that both sides actively address challenges and facilitate importing goods between the two countries.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin highlighted the important role of the joint commission meeting mechanism and expressed his commitment to strengthening cooperation with Vietnam across all areas. He expressed the desire to concretize cooperation through specific projects under the "Three Connections" strategy and proposed that Vietnam collaborate on the "Multiple Countries, One Destination" initiative to strengthen tourism cooperation and people-to-people ties.

 Overview of the meeting. 

He also hoped that Vietnam would encourage airlines to consider establishing direct flights to Udon Thani, a city with a large Vietnamese community, to promote tourism and strengthen people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.

Son agreed to work together to promote regional tourism cooperation, stressing the need to continue developing infrastructure and multimodal transport connections. He acknowledged the importance of leveraging the role of a friendly bridge between the people of the two countries.

Additionally, efforts will be made to enhance the teaching of Vietnamese and Thai languages and to promote  Vietnamese cultural and historical values in Thailand, particularly at the Ho Chi Minh memorial sites in Nakhon Phanom, Udon Thani, and Phichit.

The Three Connections strategy, ratified by both countries in November 2022, focuses on connecting supply chains; linking fundamental economic sectors, particularly connections between micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises and local businesses; and finally, aligning the sustainable growth strategies of both countries, which include Vietnam's national green growth strategy and Thailand's Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) economic model.
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