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BANGKOK, December 5. /TASS/. The bilateral trade volume between Russia and Thailand is expected to increase by 10% this year to exceed $4 billion, Russian Trade Representative in Thailand Oleg Maslennikov told TASS on Friday.
Thailand remains Russia’s major trade partner in Southeast Asia. “According to our customs statistics, in 2013 the bilateral trade turnover reached $3.7 billion. The Thai Ministry of Trade gives the figure of $4.7 billion. The thing is that we take into account our export by the country of destination, and Thailand registers its import by the country of origin. For example, Thailand purchase part of Russian energy resources via the Singapore Oil Exchange. For us, from the accounting viewpoint, the oil went to Singapore, and for Thailand — it came from Russia,” said Maslennikov.
The governments of Russia and Thailand aim to double the mutual trade turnover in the next two years. They confirmed adherence to this line of policy at a meeting of the two countries’ prime ministers in November on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Naypyidaw. “Energy resources still have the leading role in our exports. We expect an increase in the supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and also work to promote in Thailand our high value-added (HVA) products,” said the Russian trade representative.
According to him, a business mission of Thai enterprises that want to purchase steam and gas turbine is currently on a visit in Russia. “Their cooperation with the Perm-based producer of composite reinforcement Armastek is very successful. The company will most likely begin exporting its products to Thailand and also may set up a joint venture in Thailand,” Maslennikov said.
Thailand for its part intends to boost the supplies of food to the Russian market. Thailand’s major investor in the Russian economy is Charoen Pokphand Foods that has already invested more than $300 million and which announced an increase in capital investment up to $2 billion. The Thai company has built a fodder plant in the city of Lukhovitsy in the Moscow region, as well as the 10 pig farms in different Russian regions.
“They also expressed the intention to supply chicken meat to the Russian market. However, it will be difficult for the Thai producers to compete in this segment, since the cost of Turkish and Brazilian products is much lower,” said Maslennikov. He also said that Charoen Pokphand Foods plans to buy Russia’s king (Kamchatka) crab meat for its wholesale and retail chain stores Macro. “King crab was present on the Thai market before, but it was supplied by Japanese companies. Now we are looking for reliable suppliers in Russia, after which a business mission will go to the Far East to get familiarized with the product,” the Russian trade representative said.
He said that after Russia introduced restrictive measures on the food market, many Thai seafood manufacturers began to work directly with Russian companies, although they had previously exported their products to the Russian Federation through European intermediaries. “No rapid increase in the food supplies has been observed so far, but there are positive signs. A certain recovery has been noticeable and the business contacts are intensifying,” Maslennikov said.