The event, part of activities to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the two countries' diplomatic ties, attracted the participation of 15 speakers who are leading economic experts, business managers of Thailand and Vietnam and international organisations, together with more than 200 delegates from the two countries' ministries, agencies, localities and businesses.
In his opening remarks, Vietnamese Ambassador to Thailand Phan Chi Thanh highlighted achievements in bilateral economic cooperation. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, two-way trade hit nearly 13 billion USD in the first 8 months of 2021, up nearly 30 percent year-on-year, thus helping Thailand maintain its position as Vietnam’s leading trading partner in ASEAN. Thai investors continue committing to invest in Vietnam with more than 600 projects, with a total capital of more than 13 billion USD.
Thanh thanked Thai businesses for actively joining hands with the Vietnamese government and people in fighting the pandemic, including donations to the vaccine fund and provision of medical equipment for Vietnamese hospitals. He affirmed that the Vietnamese Government is making efforts to implement measures to contain the pandemic and create favorable conditions for economic, production and business activities in the "new normal."
Thai Ambassador to Vietnam Nikorndej Balankura affirmed that the COVID-19 epidemic has caused unprecedented challenges, but also brought new development opportunities for businesses, so the private sector needs to adapt to the new normal, including digital transformation, and transition to green and sustainable economic sectors.
Nguyen Anh Duong from the Central Institute for Economic Management and expert Siwat Luangsomboon from Kasikorn Bank said that Vietnam has many advantages in economic recovery, with an open economy and opportunities brought about by new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs).
Sanan Angubolkul, Chairman of the Thai-Vietnamese Business Council and Nguyen Quang Vinh, General Secretary of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, proposed carrying out a clear road-map and safety measures to soon reopen the countries, in which the key is to accelerate vaccinations against COVID-19 and improve the capacity of enterprises in self-response to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Audsitti Sroithong, Director of the Thai Investment Promotion Center in Vietnam, said that the bio-circular-green (BCG) economic model will be a future trend to help countries recover. It will open up big opportunities for countries in the CLMV region (including Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam) to invest in Thailand and vice versa in the fields of smart agriculture, smart infrastructure, and electric vehicles.
Speaker Johnathan Wong, an economist at UNESCAP, proposed countries promote inclusive economic activities, create opportunities and equal access for vulnerable groups, and improve the capacity of the private sector.
At the second session on trade and investment amidst COVID-19, enterprises recommended the two Governments soon have road-maps to reopen their countries, promptly propose consistent measures so that businesses can be well prepared, limit the impacts on production and business activities, ease financial burdens, and overcome labor shortages.
Businesses pledged to join hands with the Vietnamese Government in controlling the pandemic and recovering the economy.
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