Remarks by Minister of State for External Affairs, Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh at a Seminar on Trade and Investment Opportunities between North East India and Thailand

Hello / Sawadee Ka;

HE Mr. L. Chayotid Kridakon, Thai Trade Representative and Advisor to the Prime Minister

Mr. Arin Jira, Vice President, Federation of Thai Industries

Ms. Suchitra Durai, Ambassador of India to Thailand

Distinguished Guests; Ladies and gentlemen;

I am happy to join you all at this Seminar on Trade and Investment Opportunities between North East India and Thailand organized today within the framework of the 2nd edition of the North India Festival- East.

2. India and Thailand have traditionally had close ties based on centuries-old social and cultural interaction and the Ramayana and Buddhism link and influence our two cultures. Thailand’s ‘Act West’ policy complements India’s ‘Act East’ policy and has helped cement the multi-faceted bilateral relationship, including economic, cultural and educational, scientific and technological, and people-to-people ties.

3. Thailand is an important partner for India in the India-ASEAN strategic partnership. Northeast India is the gateway to Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. Trade, culture and connectivity are the main areas of cooperation between India and Thailand. The North East Indian states should play an important role as a physical bridge between India and South East Asia.

4. The strategic location of the Northeastern States in close proximity to Southeast Asia provides a huge opportunity for strong commercial engagement between the two sides. Bilateral trade and investment between India and Thailand has increased in recent years. Thailand is now India’s fourth-largest ASEAN trading partner with total trade of US$15.1 billion in 2021-22. Bilateral trade has benefited from the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) implemented in January 2010 as well as the Early Harvest Scheme between India and Thailand covering 83 commodities implemented since 2004.

5. The Prime Minister announced transformational reforms and enablers through the “AatmaNirbhar Bharat” or “Self-Governing India” initiatives to build capacity through structural reforms. Reforms and our Production Incentive Programs (PLIs) are creating more positive ecosystems than ever. Private sector participation received a strong boost in eight areas, including coal, minerals, defense production, civil aviation, power distribution, social infrastructure, space and atomic energy.

6. Other major policy reforms of the Indian government include; One Stop Clearance System (NSWS) to provide a single platform for investors to identify and obtain necessary approvals and clearances for investors, entrepreneurs and businesses in India; Easing standards for foreign investment in start-ups, Gati Shakti project worth about $1.3 trillion for the National Infrastructure Master Plan; India Industrial Land Bank to enable investors to search for available industrial land in India.

7. As a result of new policy reforms and initiatives as well as further liberalization of the FDI regime, GST reforms, corporate tax reforms, improvement of the business ecosystem innovation and competitiveness, India has gained 79 positions over the past five years and currently ranks 63rd. the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking and India ranks 46th in the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Global Innovation Index 2021. India is the 3rd largest start-up hub in the world. India received FDI of US$81.72 billion in the financial year 2020-21. India’s total global exports reached around $420 billion in 2021-22.

8. The north eastern states of India with rich flora and fauna produce a variety of exotic fruits, flowers, valuable spices and many species of medicinal and aromatic plants as well as exotic fishes, which offers huge business opportunities between these states and the southeast. Asia region. Some of the popular and potential crops native to the region are turmeric, chili peppers, tangerine, great cardamom, ginger, tea, pineapple, and apples. Thailand could consider importing some of these high-value agricultural products like ginger, turmeric and tea. etc Given Thailand’s expertise in agribusiness technology, we look forward to closer collaboration in this sector and Thailand may consider sharing technology with India’s northeastern states.

9. The availability of exportable resources coupled with the advantage of location, the North East of India has the potential to develop into a thriving international trading center for agro-commodities. There are good opportunities for collaboration in exporting value-added products with Thailand. The North East region is also one of the leading producers and exporters of Indian organic products.

10. The Government of India has specially allocated funds to the tune of Rupees One Lakh Thirty-four Thousand Crores to develop a number of infrastructure projects aimed at improving connectivity throughout the region, including 20 railway projects worth Rs. $9.28 billion (₹74,000 crore) for 2,011 km extending northeast. The government is also developing 4,000 km of roads in the region at a total cost of US$7.27 billion (₹58,000 crore) and 15 ongoing air connectivity projects in the northeast at a cost of about 0. US$27 billion (₹2,200 crore).

11. We hope that the completion of the ongoing India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway linking Moreh to Manipur to Maesot in Thailand will be a game-changer and boost trade and tourism relations between the two countries, including the northern region. east of India. The signing of MoUs between Ranong Port in Thailand and Indian ports of Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Krishnapatnam and Kolkata is expected to boost bilateral trade in the coming years.

12. Business leaders from both countries should play an important role in the development of economic relations between the two countries and the region. I hope this seminar will provide a useful platform for sharing information and establishing contacts between the business communities of both sides. I invite you to visit North East India and explore business opportunities and assure you all possible facilitation and support. I send you my best wishes and thank you once again for having taken part in this Seminar.

Kob Khun Khrab.

July 30, 2022,

Shirlene J. Manley