The Second Bangkok-Shanghai Economic Conference was held on Friday in Shanghai.

Delegates discussed economic cooperation between the two regions under Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor and China’s Belt & Road Initiative.

“The conference is an advanced economic mechanism which provides a platform for leading Thai and Chinese public and private sectors to interact, exchange views and engage in key policy developments in trade and investment,” said Sasirit Tangulrat, consul general of Thailand in Shanghai.

Yu Chen, vice chairman of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) Shanghai, said that Thailand is China’s third largest trade partner among ASEAN countries.

The bilateral trade volume between China and Thailand exceeded US$80 billion last year.

Meanwhile, the number of Chinese tourists travelling to Thailand reached 11 million in 2018, one-third of the overall foreign tourists in Thailand, making China the largest source of Thailand’s tourism industry.

In the period from January to April 2019, Shanghai has posted a total volume of 19.8 billion yuan (US$2.85 billion) in trade with Thailand.

Sasirit said the Belt & Road initiative “has contributed considerably to regional growth and economic prosperity, connecting China to the rest of the world.”

“Thailand and ASEAN countries have emerged as a ‘convergence point’ of the new Silk Road, encompassing multidimensional connectivity, including physical connection such as transportation infrastructure,” Sasirit said.

In terms of Thailand’s efforts to attract foreign investment, the country has launched the Eastern Economic Corridor, which is a special economic zone located in three provinces (Chachoeongsao, Chonburi, and Rayong) to facilitate investment in ten innovative industries such as bio-economy, automotive for the future, and robotics.

“We have cooperation with China both in infrastructure projects and industry investment,” said Luxmon Attapich, Deputy Secretary General of the Eastern Economic Corridor Office.

“For instance, China’s big state-owned enterprises such as China Railway will work with Thai companies to develop infrastructure projects in the EEC.”

The conference was co-organised by Thai Chamber of Commerce in China, CCPIT Shanghai, Shanghai Foreign Investment Development Board and the Shanghai Public Diplomacy Association.