Thailand and France Move to Enhance Bilateral Relations toward Closer Partnership

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Srettha Thavisin and President of the Republic of France Emmanuel Macron joined a press conference in Paris on 11 March 2024 after their discussions on various issues to enhance bilateral relations and cooperation, as the two countries progress toward a closer partnership.

At the press conference, Prime Minister Srettha cited important foundations that form a strategic partnership between the two countries. First, close and longstanding relations between Thailand and France date back more than 300 years. The year 2025 will mark the 340th anniversary of the first contact between Siam and France, and the 170th anniversary of Thai-French diplomatic relations will be celebrated in 2026.

Second, Thailand and France uphold similar international values, promoting democracy, human rights, and gender equality, and providing humanitarian assistance to those in distress.

Third, both countries have shared a position in maintaining global peace, stability, and security. Thailand has played an important role in the ASEAN region under the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, whereas the EU Strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific has paved ways for EU nations, including France, to have more constructive interaction in the region, thereby promoting strategic balance amidst the “great power” competition.

Fourth, the Thai and French governments have shared a vision to build a more sustainable and resilient economy, while taking into account the digital and green transition.

Prime Minister Srettha mentioned Thailand Vision 2030, which aims to make the country the region’s industrial hub in eight sectors, namely tourism, wellness and medical, agriculture and food, aviation, regional logistics, future automotive manufacturing, digital economy, and finance. 

He extended his invitation for France to partner with Thailand in (1) future automotive manufacturing, aviation, and regional logistics, (2) economy, trade, and investment, and (3) the defense industry.

The Prime Minister added that he had met executives of over 20 leading French firms in the fields of automobiles, aviation, clean energy, fashion, sports, hospitality, and tourism, to explore business opportunities between the two countries. Thailand is home to the largest French community in the ASEAN region, and is the second most popular long-distance tourism destination among the French people. Over 200,000 Thai tourists traveling to France each year are also considered quality tourists with high spending power.

He hoped that France would take into consideration an exemption of the Schengen visa to Thai nationals in a bid to promote tourism activities between the two countries.



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