BANGKOK — Visiting Premier Li Keqiang said in Bangkok on Dec 19 that China has proposed a long-term scheme for buying Thai farm produce.
China expects the new initiative to empower both China and Thailand to resist risks of international market fluctuations and help improve the livelihood of Thai farmers, Li told reporters after meeting with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
“Only China has such a big market and a huge purchasing power which could consume the big agricultural production of rice, rubber and others of Thailand,” said Li.
The two governments signed a memorandum of understanding on farm produce trade cooperation. China, Li said, has agreed to double its purchase on the basis of the volume the two sides agreed upon last year.
China eyes deeper cooperation with Thailand and hopes for a more balanced bilateral trade and economic relationship, added the Premier.
In addition, the two governments also inked a memorandum of understanding on railway cooperation.
Li said the Chinese and Thai governments have agreed to build Thailand’s first standard-gauge railway line with a length of about 800 km, which has been approved by the National Legislative Assembly of Thailand.
“This is the expansion, extension and further confirmation of the previous agreement that the Chinese and Thai governments reached last year,” Li said.
The new railway will also benefit neighboring countries if being extended to other places in the region, Li added.
Chinese standards, equipment and manufacturing capacity will all be used in building the Thai railway, which helps China export its manufacturing capacity to the rest of the world, Li said.
Li is in Bangkok to attend the fifth summit of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Cooperation.
The Premier said he looks forward to having an extensive exchange of views with all parties on deepening regional trade and economic cooperation, enhancing inter-connectivity and promoting innovation in industrial cooperation.
The GMS Economic Cooperation Program, which was started in 1992 by six countries along the Mekong River — Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, aims to pool their efforts for improving infrastructure, promoting trade and investment and stimulating economic growth.
Under the framework of cooperation between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Li said, China is willing to cultivate stable, peaceful and friendly relations with its closest ASEAN neighbors.
The subregional cooperation will further enrich the partnership between China and ASEAN, Li said.