On April 8, five memorandums were signed between Russia and Vietnam in order to bolster trade between the two states. A high goal has been set, with plans to double annual bilateral trade to $10bn by 2016, although details of which industries will be targeted have not yet been shared.
Russia has also pledged to help Thailand’s energy sector
During the first visit of a Russian prime minister to Bangkok in 25 years, Dmitry Medvedev also offered support for a number of other sectors. Tourism is said to receive a boost – a significant facet for Thailand following a steep decline as a result of recent political unrest. Additionally, the two countries will work more closely to reduce drug trafficking and crime.
Thailand’s military coup last May triggered widespread economic consequences, which led to a contraction of GDP growth to 0.7 percent in 2014. Thanks to a calmer political environment, the Asian Development Bank predicts that this figure will rise to 3.6 percent in the coming year. Economic cooperation with Russia may indeed present the trade opportunities required to achieve this growth.
Russia has also pledged to help Thailand’s energy sector. Although Thailand is a producer of natural gas and crude oil, imports are required in order to meet the country’s growing consumption needs. Production has grown substantially in recent years, yet further investment in upstream activities in required. According to the US Energy Information Administration, Thailand is the third largest producer of biofuels in the region, thereby presenting abundant investment opportunities for Russia.
In a further bid to bring the countries closer together, Medvedev has offered a Free Trade Agreement between Thailand and the Eurasian Economic Union. Vietnam is close to concluding such a deal with the newly formed association, which currently has Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia as members – with Kyrgyzstan expected to join imminently.
As such, it appears Russia is on path to forming a powerful economic alliance that can turn its back on the West, as it no longer needs to rely on its cooperation.