04/09/2015, 00.00
THAILAND-RUSSIA
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Bangkok: five trade agreements signed with Russia

by Weena Kowitwanij
Premier Medvedev signs a memorandum to enhance political and economic cooperation between the two countries. Topics include tourism and the fight against drug trafficking. First visit of a Russian diplomat to Thailand in 25 years. Moscow and Bangkok "sister cities".

Bangkok (AsiaNews) - Russia and Thailand have signed five bilateral agreements on areas including politics, economy, security, energy, tourism, education, culture and combatting drug trafficking. The signing took place yesterday at the headquarters of the Thai government between the first Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Medvedev's visit - April 7 to 9 - is the first by a Russian diplomat in the last 25 years - and is part of a plan aimed at strengthening diplomatic relations between the two countries. It is perhaps also a way to increase independence from the United States, traditional allies, now that a military junta is in power in Thailand.

Negotiations dealt with significant issues for both nations, seeking to "increase the value of trade and increase agricultural and industrial production." Yongyuth Mayalarp, ​​spokesman for the Thai government, expressed satisfaction with "the outcome of the talks, which have led to bilateral agreements, and that both countries have decided to sign five memoranda". "Moreover, he added, investment in state enterprises and the private sector is one of the our chief concerns".

Energy Minister Alexander Novak, the head of the Federal Agency for Tourism Oleg Safonov and the Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky, signed the Russian memorandum with Medvedev.

In the field of tourism, the memorandum is effective for the 2015-17 biennium and promotes the exchange of visitors between the two countries, as well as an increase in security and tourist care.

Thailand has confirmed it will export more raw rubber to Russia to cover the growing demand of the Russian automotive market. The Thai government is also considering lowering taxes on Russian imports to increase trade between the two countries.

"The ties with Russia go back a long time," said Thai Prime Minister Prayut. "In 2017 we will celebrate 120 years of diplomatic relations, and there will be other activities and projects that will strengthen our cooperation at both the government level and in the private sector." Sending his greetings to President Vladimir Putin, Prayut invited him to visit Thailand, suggesting that Bangkok and Moscow could become Sister City for business cooperation.

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