Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and Mr. Josaia Voreqe Bainimara, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji, have discussed opportunities to promote bilateral relations in many areas, especially political, security, trade, investment, and technical cooperation.
The discussion took place at Government House on 25 May 2015, when the Prime Minister of Fiji was on a working visit to Thailand, during his participation in the 71st session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok from 25 to 29 May 2015.
General Prayut said that he had also discussed with the Prime Minister of Fiji cooperation to develop the sugar cane industry, sugar, pure coconut oil, fisheries, alternative energy, and tourism. The two countries also looked into the possibilities of establishing several agreements on aviation, double taxation, and visa exemption in order to promote travel between them.
Thailand and Fiji have been good friends for 43 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations on 15 December 1972. There have been many exchanges of visits between high level delegations of both countries. Thailand views Fiji as an important friend among the Pacific Island group of countries, and is committed to enhancing relations with the many countries in this region.
It has been a dialogue partner in the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) since 2004 and has sent representatives to attend the PIF Dialogue Partners Meeting on a yearly basis.
Fiji is a country in the Pacific Islands region that is important to Thailand for a number of reasons. It possesses many natural resources, such as fish stocks, timber, and minerals – all of which are important to Thai industries. Fiji is also a consumer market for Thailand with great potential for further expansion. It is in demand of construction materials and infrastructure to support tourism, which is an important industry for Fiji. These are sectors that Thailand has potential and expertise.
Prime Minister General Prayut pointed out that Thailand intends to promote bilateral trade, as Fiji is a substantial market in the Pacific Island region and is the number 2 importer of Thai goods, such as automobiles and auto-parts, plastics, refined sugar, canned and processed seafood, cosmetics, soap, and skin care products. Fiji exports several items to Thailand, such as fresh, chilled, frozen, or processed seafood, and meat for consumption. In 2014 Thailand’s trade balance with Fiji amounted to US $ 49 million.
He stated that Thailand and Fiji have also closely cooperated in the international arena. Fiji has an important leading role for the Pacific Island group of nations on the international stage. Thailand is seeking a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2017 -2018 term. It, therefore, hopes to gain Fiji’s support on this matter.
In addition, both sides discussed the matter of mutual support in various international positions, such as Thailand’s candidacy for the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, membership of the Human Rights Council, and Fiji’s candidacy for the President of the General Assembly.