Saifuddin: Malaysia, Thailand keen to explore new areas of collaboration

BANGKOK: Malaysia and Thailand are keen to explore new areas of collaboration including in agriculture and digital economy to boost economic cooperation, says Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah.

He said Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan o-cha had set a new bilateral trade target of US$30bil (RM134bil) by 2025.

"Malaysia and Thailand agreed to enhance economic cooperation, among others, to explore new areas of collaboration,” he said at a joint press conference with his Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai, who is also the deputy prime minister here on Wednesday (Aug 10).

Earlier, Saifuddin and Don co-chaired the 14th Meeting of the Joint Commission (JC) for Bilateral Cooperation and the 5th Meeting of the Committee on the Joint Development Strategy (JDS) for Border Areas.

Thailand is Malaysia’s 6th largest trading partner and the second largest trading partner among Asean member states. Total trade had increased by 23% to US$23.64bil 2021 from the year before.

On Malaysia-Thailand border areas, Saifuddin said both sides agreed to accelerate the implementation of border infrastructure projects.

They include the road alignment to connect the Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security (ICQS) complex in Bukit Kayu Hitam with the new Sadao Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex in Songkhla and the Second Friendship Bridge Rantau Panjang in Sungai Golok.

"Almost 50% of Malaysia-Thailand bilateral trade are concentrated in the border areas.

"It is important to have good infrastructure at the border areas to support the needs of the people and business community,” he said.

During the meeting, Saifuddin said being among the top three producers of natural rubber in the world Malaysia and Thailand also looked into exploring collaboration in stabilizing rubber price.

"Both sides also discussed how the Kedah Rubber City and Songkhla Rubber City could collaborate to benefit rubber smallholders in the two countries by stabilising the market price and benefiting the value chain suppliers for rubber-based industries,” he said.

Meanwhile, Saifuddin said the meetings today is fruitful as it provided the opportunity for Malaysia and Thailand to review the progress of bilateral cooperation programmes.

The two meetings - JC and JDS were last held seven years ago in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia will host the next JDS and JC Meetings in Kuala Lumpur next year on a date convenient to both sides. It is also Malaysia’s turn to host the 7th Malaysia-Thailand Annual Consultation at the Leaders’ level. - Bernama

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