by Suman Gupta
“India and Thailand have emerged as prominent trade and economic partners and both countries offer ample opportunities for cooperation in several sectors of mutual complementarities. Thailand has initiated discussions with the officials of the Government of Maharashtra for bilateral cooperation in areas of mutual interest and is keen to participate in investment Summits such as Magnetic Maharashtra as and when it takes place in the state.” These observations were made by Mr. Ekapol Poolpipat, Consul-General, The Royal Thai Consulate – General, Mumbai at an interactive meeting organised by MVIRDC World Trade Centre Mumbai on September 20, 2018. Mr. Poolpipat was leading an official delegation from Thailand to explore opportunities for trade and economic cooperation with Maharashtra.
Mr. Poolpipat identified three prominent sectors viz. harvest and post-harvest technologies, digital technologies and film production & distribution as focus areas for collaboration between both the countries.
The locations for these sectors would ideally be Pune, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Surat, he informed. According to Mr. Poolpipat, there were excellent possibilities of cooperation in wine production, dry fruits and dairy processing and production, with value addition.
Mr. Poolpipat expressed that in building a strong India-Thailand trade relationship, WTC Mumbai would serve as an ideal partner in the coming years.
Speaking on this occasion, Mr. Siddhartha Rastogi, Director – Asset Management, Ambit Capital Private Limited observed that Maharashtra and Thailand share several complementarities that could provide fillip to bilateral economic cooperation.
Deliberating on Maharashtra’s economic potentials, Mr. Rastogi highlighted that both Thailand and Maharashtra excel in key areas such as textiles, automobiles, food processing, fisheries and sea trade. While Thailand is a front-runner in technologies, India offers superior quality labour force. According to Mr. Rastogi, technology of Thailand could be combined with the superior labour resource of Maharashtra to build global brands for products and services.
Mr. Rastogi identified several key areas such as food processing, auto-manufacturing, computer and IT hardware parks, textiles, solar panels, biodegradable packaging, banana processing, cement manufacturing, LED lighting systems, robotics, tourism and ayurvedic products, where both India and Thailand could cooperate successfully.
For instance, in the sector of computer and information technology, Maharashtra excels in IT-enabled services such as BPOs, KPOs, medical transcriptions, while Thailand has the core competence in manufacture of IT hardware such as computer hard disks. This could open up excellent possibilities for cooperation in the IT sector with Thailand offering hardware components and combining those with the software capabilities in Maharashtra.
Further, in the automotive sector of Maharashtra, Thailand could bring in their expertise in robotics technology. An area of challenge for both Thailand and Maharashtra is waste disposal. With Maharashtra’s speedy urbanization, there are excellent opportunities for cooperation in the sector of waste treatment and disposals, Mr. Rastogi emphasized.
Earlier in her welcome address, Ms. Rupa Naik, Senior Director, MVIRDC World Trade Centre Mumbai mentioned that there is great scope for cooperation between India and Thailand, particularly in areas such as food processing in order to reduce post-harvest wastage. Maharashtra is home to several industry clusters in sectors such as automobile, engineering, food processing, dairy, information technology, among others and these could be strengthened with appropriate technologies from Thailand.
Bilateral trade between India and Thailand stood at USD 10.79 billion in 2017-18 and Ms. Naik hoped that this could be doubled in the next five years.
Ms. Naik urged Mr. Poolpipat to organize an exhibition at World Trade Centre Mumbai to showcase Thailand’s innovative manufacturing technologies for the benefit of trade and industry in Maharashtra.