Hainan mini-FTA deepens China trade

Hainan mini-FTA deepens China trade

Seasonal Thai fruits are likely to get a boost from the trade agreement with China.

The government is upbeat about trade prospects with China after partnerships were deepened via “mini-FTAs” signed with Hainan province in late August.

Thai officials are eager to sign similar partnerships with other provinces in China to increase trade with the country.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said following the first free trade agreement with a Chinese province, the ministry plans to organise online business matching activities between Thailand and Hainan at the end of 2021.

Next year the ministry plans to organise a trade fair exhibiting world-class Thai brands at the Hainan Expo for the second year in a row, focusing on promoting health and wellness products and services such as Thai massage, spa, beauty products, herbal products and holistic health services.

The Chinese government recently declared Hainan a free trade port, linking it with countries along the Belt and Road Initiative to encourage trade activity there.

Hainan is the smallest province in southern China and a strategic point connecting the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area to Southeast Asia along the “Maritime Silk Road”.

Two-way trade between Thailand and Hainan province tallied 3.62 billion baht in the first half this year, with exports accounting for 2.48 billion baht and imports 1.14 billion.

“The ministry wants to sign mini-FTAs with other provinces in China such as Gansu in the north, which is majority Muslim, making it a good match for Thai halal products,” said Mr Jurin.

Under the partnership deal, Thailand and Hainan collaboration covers five main areas. These five areas comprise cooperation on information exchange and measures to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) such as investment and establishment of trade representatives; business linkage promotion and enhancing creativity and innovation of SMEs via product development, expanding opportunities in third markets; facilitation of trade activities through seminars, trade shows, business matching and trade delegations; expansion of trade volume for agricultural, food and industrial products; and promotion of e-commerce and online business matching.

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