Stating that Thailand and India should build on their economic ties as possibilities are immense, Prime Minister of Thailand Abhisit Vejjajiva on Tuesday said bilateral trade between the two nations was likely to touch $10 billion by 2012.

Addressing a business conclave meeting here on his first visit to India as the Prime Minister, Mr. Vejjajiva said the bilateral trade had seen a six-fold increase in the last ten years. It was likely to touch $10 billion by 2012 up from $6.7 billion last year.

Stating that Indian businesses and investors should see Thailand as a gateway to the ten-nation ASEAN market, the Thai Prime Minister said fast trade growth was expected when the ASEAN moved to a single market, set for 2015. “Thailand's Look-West Policy sets the stage in consolidating our substantive bilateral engagement. The last decade has seen a considerable expansion in our economic and political ties with the exchange of several high-level visits from both sides underscoring our mutual commitment for elevating the economic engagement,'' he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma expressed optimism over growing trade and investment between the two countries.

Reiterating India's commitment to deepening integration with Southeast Asia, he said that enhancing the share of manufacturing in the GDP was a priority for India and Thailand could play a major role in enhancing the share of manufacturing as they had a proven expertise in the area and had a significant share in their GDP.

Mr. Sharma said Indian companies had invested $2 billion in the Thai economy and companies from Thailand had invested nearly $1 billion. “Complementary strengths of our industry make us natural partners and the advantages of geography only reinforce this relationship,'' he added.

Mr. Sharma invited Thai companies to forge partnerships in the infrastructure sector. The Minister said over eight lakh Indian tourists visit Thailand and almost an equal number of tourists from Thailand visit India. “We would like to take this beyond just air connectivity and in this context, the tri-lateral highway project linking India and Thailand through Myanmar is an area of high priority for us,'' he remarked.