German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Left) met with Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin (Right) on Jan. 25. (Photo: Srettha Thavisin's Facebook)
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Thailand from January 24th to 26th and met with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin. Both sides pledged to strengthen trade cooperation and expand investment in clean energy, electric vehicles, and other green economy initiatives. Steinmeier also visited the Sirindhorn Dam to observe the world's largest hydro and solar hybrid power plant.
Steinmeier expressed Germany's support for Thailand's development of renewable energy technology, aiming to increase the share of green energy to 50% by 2040. Germany also aims to help Thailand become a regional hub for electric vehicle manufacturing and to develop sustainable agriculture to address PM 2.5 air pollution.
This visit marks the first time in 22 years that a German President has visited Thailand. Accompanying officials from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the delegation includes representatives from 12 companies spanning five major sectors: renewable energy and environment, electronics and automotive manufacturing, digital services and education, construction materials and infrastructure, as well as international exhibitions and events.
Thai Trade Representative M.L. Chayotid Kridakon emphasized during discussions with German business representatives that the government is striving to make Thailand the preferred destination for clean energy manufacturing. Discussions with the Board of Investment (BOI) are underway to promote the development of electric vehicle microchips and electronic components manufacturing. Additionally, Thailand is in the process of drafting the first Green Tariff in Southeast Asia, expected to be launched in February.
To promote the use of clean energy in the industrial sector, the Thai Ministry of Energy is developing the Utility Green Tariff (UGT) scheme. This comprehensive service will cover green electricity production, procurement, and certification, aiming to achieve net zero carbon emissions goals and attract foreign investment.
Germany is Thailand's largest trading partner in the European Union, with bilateral trade reaching 540 billion Thai Baht (about 15.21 billion USD) in 2023. Currently, there are about 600 German companies in Thailand. Prime Minister Srettha stated, "the two countries have always had mutually beneficial relations, and now we will elevate it to a strategic partnership."
Furthermore, the leaders of both countries discussed initiatives such as opening Thailand for visa-free entry into the Schengen Area and expediting the bilateral free trade agreement. Prime Minister Srettha is expected to visit Germany in March to further strengthen the relationship between the two countries.