In a celebrated event witnessed by leaders around the world in Beijing at the 3rd Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin of Thailand had an insightful dialogue with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The primary focus of this meeting was the promotion and development of Thailand under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Wearing double hats as the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister of Thailand, Mr Srettha touted the Land Bridge project pitched his country as an agile player in boosting the green transition in all sectors. He specifically emphasized the priority of shifting consumption towards clean energy, utilising digital transformation responsibly, and ensuring equitable access to these new technologies.
To put these proposed ideas into action, Thailand is proactively adopting a long-term strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This strategy includes a committed transition to electric vehicles (30% zero-emission vehicles by 2030) and fostering foreign investment in this sector. Besides, there are plans to increase the scope of sustainable agriculture, ultimately improving the lives of farmers and their resilience to climate change.
Mr Srettha stressed the significance of constructing a sustainable blue economy in realizing the Green Maritime Silk Road and conserving diverse marine and coastal ecosystems. He committed to achieving protected areas under the “30 by 30 Target” pledge made in Canada during the COP15 forum in December 2022.
The power of financing in facilitating the green transition was also highlighted by the prime minister. Harnessing this power, Thailand has managed to generate around US$12.5 billion from sustainability bonds. Further plans to incentivize private sector engagement in eco-friendly businesses include the release of sustainability linked bonds.
As the world commemorates the 10th anniversary of the BRI, Mr Srettha expressed his admiration for China’s successful implementation of this ambitious project. Despite being a smaller nation, Thailand is geared up to gain insights from this project and its prosperity benefits and apply them at home.
Reflecting on this spirit of growth and development, the Thai cabinet recently endorsed a study and implementation plan for the Southern Land Bridge megaproject, which connects the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean to the Gulf of Thailand and the Pacific Ocean. This is expected to enhance the connectivity in the southern Andaman region and reduce travel times via the Strait of Malacca.
Confirming the interest of China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC), a top-notch engineering firm, in joining this grand project, Mr Srettha expressed his gratitude. He advised the firm to meet with the Board of Investment (BOI) to discuss investment privileges and learn more.
Additionally, the Prime Minister urged the company to consider setting up a regional office in Thailand for smoother operations. The roadmap for the project includes an overseas roadshow between November and January to gather foreign investment. The bidding process for the private sector’s participation will kick off from April to June, culminating in a logistics network from Ranong to Chumphon.