Thai Deputy Prime Minister Chatchai Sarikulya has recently paid an official visit to the Hungarian capital where he discussed issues like technological coopration, water management and even the possibility of a direct air link between the two countries.
Following talks with Thai Deputy Prime Minister, the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó was quoted by the government's website by saying that “Thailand is the region’s largest economy, and for this reason it is in Hungary’s interests to increase cooperation with the Asian country.”
At their joint press conference following the meeting, the Minister stressed that “Thailand is the region’s number one economic partner to Hungary, and a huge market where Hungarian enterprises have already achieved success to date, and we would like to further tighten economic relations between the two countries”.
“Last year, Hungarian-Thai trade flow increased by 18% to exceed USD 700 million, and Hungarian exports grew by 41%”, he explained. “The reinforcement of economic relations is being helped by EximBank’s 630-million-dollar credit line, in addition to which we have also convened a session of the Hungary-Thailand Joint Economic Committee”, he stated.
He went on to say that “the EU has lifted the restrictions relating to Thai airlines, thanks to which we have begun negotiations on the launching pf a direct air passenger route, in addition to which advanced talks are also underway on the participation of a Hungarian company in the establishment of Thailand’s new air traffic control system.” He also said that one of the main topics of the meeting was water, in view of the fact that Thailand has adopted a ten-year strategy for, amongst others modernising the populations drinking water supply, flood protection and the construction of wastewater treatment plants.
“Hungarian companies can offer suitable technologies for this, meaning they could open up major market opportunities for us”, he pointed out. “Hungary is a believer in free trade, and the fewer the obstacles to international commercial trade, the better for the country and for Hungarian enterprises”, the Foreign Minister said. “Accordingly, Hungary is supporting the commencement of negotiations on a free trade agreement between Thailand and the EU at the earliest opportunity”, he added.
Chatchai Sarikulya highlighted the fact that the main goal of his visit to Budapest was to get to know as much as possible about Hungarian water management, because the two countries could establish a mutually beneficial cooperation within this field. The Deputy Prime Minister said he believes Thailand can act as a kind of gateway into East Asia for Hungary, just as Thailand would also like to rely on Hungary as a gateway to Europe.
The Thai Deputy Prime Minister thanked Hungary for providing scholarship places for 29 Thai students to attend Hungarian universities, because, as he explained, the knowledge they are gaining here enriches bilateral relations.