Deputy PM Jurin touts Bhutan’s trade talks in Phuket

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PHUKET: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit has praised the trade talks with Bhutan held in Phuket, saying it is hoped that the expanded trade and investment cooperation will push the exports of Thai herbs and traditional medicines to Bhutan, thus boosting the total trade between the two countries. 3.6 billion baht by 2025.

Mr Jurin made his announcement after the 4th Thailand-Bhutan Joint Trade Committee (JTC) Meeting (Ministerial Level) with Bhutanese Economy Minister Linpo Loknat Sharma at Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket Hotel yesterday (April 28) .

“Bhutan has a population of around 800,000 people. The total value of trade between Thailand and Bhutan in 2021 was 2.1 billion baht, almost all of which are exports from Thailand to Bhutan,” Jurin noted yesterday.

“As a result, Thailand has a trade surplus with Bhutan of around 2.096 billion baht,” he said.

Thailand’s main export to Bhutan was textiles, namely synthetic fabric garments, accounting for about 70% of the total export value. Other products included electrical appliances, fresh fruit and chilled, frozen and dried fruit, he said.

Thailand imports food items such as coffee, tea, spices and fruit jellies from Bhutan, as well as metals such as small copper cast metal products, he added.

Thailand’s investments in Bhutan have been another factor, Jurin said.

“For example, many Thai businessmen have invested in the service sector in Bhutan. in the hospitality industry, accommodation, spas and restaurants, etc. “, did he declare.

Mr. Jurin said he raised several points during the talks.

“We should adjust the joint business target to go from $50 million next year to $120 million by 2025, from 1.2 billion baht to 3.6 billion baht, an increase of about three times over the next three years. In the past, the rate of trade between them increased by 15-20% per year,” he said.

“The second issue was to ask Bhutan to support the export of Thai herbs and traditional Thai medicines for sale in Bhutan, in terms of registering the products, facilitating the importation of the products and launching them on the market. This will be a new target for Thai exports and a new market for Thai herbs and traditional Thai medicines,” he said.

The third issue was having a Crafts MoU that has now expired and extended for five years from the expiration date. “This will help promote community crafts and products from two countries exchanging with each other both in production and trade,” Jurin said.

Another request was to extend the Memorandum of Understanding on tourism between the two countries.

“The Memorandum of Understanding originally entered into between the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Tourism Board of Bhutan is about to expire. We would like to see this extended for another five years and have DASTA included in the agreement so that we can work together on sustainable tourism.

“We could then develop joint package tours so that when tourists from all over the world come to Bhutan, they can also come to Thailand, and tourists who come to Thailand can continue to Bhutan in the same travel package or program. This will be helpful to both parties,” Mr. Jurin said.

The aim was to work with Bhutan to jointly promote each country’s ‘soft power’ as another important selling point between the two countries,” he said. “It will focus on arts, culture, lifestyle, food, crafts, etc., attracting tourists from all over the world to both countries,” Jurin noted.

Mr. Jurin invited business people from Bhutan to join THAIFEX -ANUGA Asia 2022, Asia’s largest food exhibition, which will be held in Thailand from May 24 to 28, and the related event in fashion The Marche by STYLE Bangkok from May 18 to 22.

He asked when Bhutan would relax entry measures for tourists to the country. “This is to support Thai businessmen who are looking to invest in hotels, food, spas, etc., so that they can formulate business plans in advance,” he said. -he declares.

Minister Lochnath Sharma in turn called on Bhutan to enter into a product-specific Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), as it has done with Bangladesh.

Mr. Lochnath also raised the issue of Butan exporting apples, oranges and potatoes to Thailand.

“Bhutan is implementing a new method of agriculture without chemicals. the [Thai] The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives is currently considering conducting a pesticide-free analysis of these fruits,” Jurin said.

Mr. Lochnath had asked the Ministry of Agriculture to look into this matter urgently to facilitate the import of essential products from Bhutan to Thailand to be an alternative for Thai consumers in the future, said Mr. Jurin. .

“This meeting is considered very beneficial as it is an important opportunity to bring another category of products, namely Thai herbs and traditional Thai medicines, to Bhutan,” Mr. Jurin concluded.

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