Thailand and New Zealand Agree to Boost Economic Ties and Resume Direct Flights

Thailand and New Zealand agree to elevate their 70-year diplomatic ties to a strategic partnership by 2026, boosting trade, investment, and people-to-people exchanges.

Trim Correspondents
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Thailand and New Zealand Agree to Boost Economic Ties  and Resume Direct Flights

Thailand and New Zealand Agree to Boost Economic Ties and Resume Direct Flights

Thailand and New Zealand have agreed to strengthen their relations to a strategic partnership by 2026 or sooner, marking the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic ties. The announcement came during a visit by New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Bangkok, where he met with his Thai counterpart, Srettha Thavisin.

The two leaders discussed various areas of cooperation, including trade, education, investment, visa arrangements, tourism, transnational crime, and cybersecurity. They set an ambitious goal to triple two-way trade by 2045, building on the tripling of trade since a free trade agreement was signed 20 years ago.

To facilitate economic cooperation, the leaders announced tariff-free entry for all Thai and New Zealand imports starting January 1, and agreed to further facilitate visas and resume direct flights that were shut down during the pandemic. Two groundbreaking Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) were also signed, bridging Thailand's Office of the Basic Education Commission with New Zealand's Massey University and establishing a strategic tie between Thai Aviation Industries Ltd and NZSkydive Ltd of New Zealand.

Why this matters: The strengthening of ties between Thailand and New Zealand has the potential to boost economic growth and create new opportunities for businesses and citizens in both countries. The resumption of direct flights and visa facilitation measures will also make it easier for people to travel between the two nations, promoting greater cultural exchange and understanding.

The partnership aims to fortify defense and security cooperation, bolster economic ties , and promote advancements in science, technology, and innovation, particularly in areas like agri-tech, smart farming, and renewable energy. Thailand welcomed New Zealand's intention to become a development partner of the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) and expressed appreciation for New Zealand's support on Thailand's OECD membership and UN Human Rights Council candidature.

Prime Minister Srettha stated, "Thailand and New Zealand have enjoyed a long-standing friendship and partnership. We are committed to further strengthening our ties and exploring new areas of cooperation for the benefit of our peoples and the region."

Key Takeaways

  • Thailand and New Zealand agreed to upgrade ties to a strategic partnership by 2026.
  • The countries aim to triple two-way trade by 2045, building on a 20-year FTA.
  • Tariff-free entry for all imports, visa facilitation, and direct flights to resume.
  • New MoUs on education and aviation cooperation signed to boost economic ties.
  • Partnership to fortify defense, security, and cooperation in science, tech, and innovation.