Exclusive interview with Vice President of Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce Boonyong Yongcharoenrat.
BEIJING, Sept. 21, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A report from China Report ASEAN:
Since the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was proposed in 2013, many countries have been proactively participating in it, and overseas Chinese in these countries have served as an important bridge for BRI cooperation.
With China always on their mind, many overseas Chinese in Thailand have been devoted to supporting China’s development. Since its establishment, the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce (TCCC) has been cooperating with other industrial associations to promote China– Thailand friendship and facilitate bilateral economic cooperation, cultural exchange, and two-way investment.
What expectations do they have for cooperation on building a China- Thailand Community with a Shared Future and an Asia-Pacific community? On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the BRI, China Report ASEAN conducted an exclusive interview with Boonyong Yongcharoenrat, vice president of TCCC.
China Report ASEAN: This year marks the 10th anniversary of the BRI. With Thailand proactively involved in the program, how significant do you think BRI cooperation is?
Boonyong Yongcharoenrat: Thailand was an important part of the Maritime Silk Road in ancient times. Located at the center of Southeast Asia, Thailand, together with many other countries in the region, has reaped benefits from the BRI cooperation, and the “Thailand 4.0″ development strategy is closely aligned with the BRI. The Belt and Road is not only a memory of the past, but a new story of the present.
Over the past decade, China and Thailand have been committed to facilitating the development of free trade agreements such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The Ministry of Commerce of Thailand has been engaged in cooperation with China’s Hainan and Gansu provinces and will work on cooperation projects with Shenzhen City and Yunnan Province.
Chinese businessmen in Thailand are well aware of the fact that the BRI creates greater development potential. To seize the opportunities, we need to keep pace with construction of the BRI and stay committed to BRI cooperation.
China Report ASEAN: In your opinion, what role do overseas businessmen play in BRI cooperation?
Boonyong Yongcharoenrat: Chinese entrepreneurs in Thailand are both witnesses and participants of the BRI. We have been taking part in various cooperation projects on China–Thailand investment and trade, which helps build a group of successful companies. The efforts not only boost the development of Thailand, but enhance the friendly exchanges and cooperation between the two countries. And the BRI enables Chinese entrepreneurs in Thailand to become a part of regional economic cooperation. Therefore, the BRI serves as a steering wheel for us to participate in economic and trade cooperation and make contributions to the construction of our home country.
China Report ASEAN: The 16th World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention (WCEC) was held in Bangkok from June 24 to 26. Since the TCCC was the organizer, could you share some highlights from the WCEC this year?
Boonyong Yongcharoenrat: This was Thailand’s second time hosting the WCEC after the third WCEC was held in the country in 1995. Three years after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, the TCCC took the responsibility of organizing the 16th WCEC, which is of great significance for overseas Chinese entrepreneurs, relevant countries and regions, and the social and economic development of Thailand.
To facilitate exchanges between Chinese businessmen in different industries, we organized four parallel sub-forums with different themes: Thailand’s economic environment and investment advantages; the BRI, RCEP, and opportunities in the Guangdong– Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area; business operation and idea sharing; and the inheritance and mission of young Chinese entrepreneurs.
We wanted this year’s WCEC to serve as a platform for all Chinese entrepreneurs around the globe to make study visits, exchange views, and explore new business opportunities. Meanwhile, by telling the stories of Chinese entrepreneurs at the convention, we hope to build consensus, promote nongovenrmental trade, and boost shared prosperity for Chinese entrepreneurs.
China Report ASEAN: During the meeting between Chinese leaders and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in November 2022, both countries reached important consensus on building a China-Thailand Community with a Shared Future for enhanced stability, prosperity and sustainability, and proposed the goal of building an open, dynamic, resilient, and peaceful Asia-Pacific community. What is your view?
Boonyong Yongcharoenrat: China has been Thailand’s largest trading partner for 10 consecutive years. In 2022, bilateral trade between the two countries hit a record of US$135 billion, a year-on-year increase of 3 percent. China’s investment in Thailand totaled up to US$1.38 billion, an increase of 37 percent over the last year.
The goals of Thailand’s development strategies such as Thailand 4.0 and Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) are also highly aligned with those of the BRI. In 2020, China signed the RCEP with 14 countries to drive the economic integration of Asia-Pacific forward.
Both the Asia-Pacific community and the China-Thailand Community with a Shared Future demonstrate China playing a lead role in global trade. The TCCC will stay committed to pooling the resources of all overseas Chinese, supporting China’s strategies and policies, promoting harmony in the Chinese community in Thailand, consolidating bilateral cooperation in various fields, and making great contributions to building a China-Thailand Community with a Shared Future.
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SOURCE China Report ASEAN