Top Stories : Meeting of the 7th Session of the Joint Thai – Russian Commission on Bilateral Cooperation news3

Top Stories : Meeting of the 7th Session of the Joint Thai – Russian Commission on Bilateral Cooperation

On 27 December 2018, Thailand hosted the 7th Session of the Joint Thai – Russian Commission on Bilateral Cooperation (JC7) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand. The meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and H.E. Mr. Denis Manturov, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, who also visited Thailand as guest of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The co-chairs discussed ways to promote cooperation in various fields that are in the two countries’ mutual interest. Thailand asked Russia to consider importing more food and agricultural products from Thailand as Thailand is ready to contribute to Russia’s food security. Thailand also requested Russia to expedite the sending of its experts to inspect Thailand’s remaining fish product producing plants. Thailand also invited Russia to invest in the Thai Government’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project and to become a development partner of the ACMECS. The Russian side expressed interest in investing in the EEC, especially in the fields of aviation, digital technology, rail infrastructure, and IT technology. The two sides also agreed to promote economic cooperation through, for example, exchanges of visits between the Thai and Russian business sectors, holding of seminars and business matching, use of local currencies for trade payments, increase in two-way tourism, feasibility study of the use of credit cards issued by Russian financial institutions, promotion of mutual investments and enhanced cooperation in energy and pharmaceuticals. 
The meeting also agreed on the Agreed Minutes which outlined the common intention of the government and private sectors of both countries to enhance comprehensive cooperation in various fields – politics, defense, security, economics, finance and banking, agriculture, energy, science and technology, education, public health, tourism, natural resources and environment, culture as well as regional cooperation in such frameworks as ASEAN, ACMECS, ACD, ASEM and CICA. The aim of such cooperation is to elevate relations to the level of a strategic partnership in the future. 
After the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation together witnessed the signing of 3 agreements between the government and private sectors: the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Industry of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation in the Sphere of Industrial Development Cooperation; the Protocl between the Department of Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (FSVPS) of the Russian Federation on Safety, Quality and Phytosanitary Requirements at Mutual Deliveries of Grain and Grain Products; and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian-Thai Business Council and the Thai – Russian Chamber of Commerce. 
Afterwards, the Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation paid a courtesy call on H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, and had a bilateral discussion with H.E. Dr. Uttama Savanayana, Minister of Industry, before returning to Russia that evening.
The Thai – Russian Joint Commission meeting is an official framework for consultation between the governments of Thailand and Russia, which was established in 1993. Since the meeting of the 6th session of the Joint Commission in Russia in 2015, Thai – Russian relations have made much progress and have been increasingly dynamic. Clear examples include the regular exchange of high-level visits and meetings between the leaders and ministers of the two countries, the convening of various inter-agency meetings such as sub-commissions on agricultural cooperation and on trade and economic cooperation, and various joint working groups on, for example, energy, tourism, environmental protection, finance and banking, security and military logistics. Furthermore, there have been several agreements signed between both the government and private sectors. 
In the past three years, Thai – Russian trade volume has increased by 28.3 percent or from USD 2,355.93 million in 2015 to USD 3,023 million in 2017. Russia is currently Thailand’s 29th trading partner while the number of Russian tourists visiting Thailand have increased by 50 percent from 933,238 to 1.4 million.