6 June 2024

As the amount of mutual trade between Thailand and Brazil reaches 4.5 billion dollars per year, the relationship could rise to another level, if both governments have clear cooperation goals across various industries. The Thai government, however, appears reticent.

In a recent interview with Thai PBS World, Brazil’s ambassador to Thailand, H.E. Mr. José Borges dos Santos Júnior, said that he is seeking a quicker response from the government, as neighbouring countries in ASEAN have opened their arms to Brazil.

“As Brazil exports a lot of soybean, my nation imports auto parts and rubber from Thailand. It is a very good trading partnership. I am afraid to say, however, that some of the neighbours in ASEAN have reacted more quickly in realising that there is a lot to profit if they cooperate with other (countries), not only with Brazil, but with other food producers in the world, especially in the Southern Hemisphere,” the envoy remarked.

“The Embassy of Brazil has been asking for a technical visit of inspection by (Thailand’s) Department of Livestock Development of the Ministry of Agriculture, to inspect our plants, for the last three years. We still haven’t had a response from the Ministry. Things go very slowly and there must be a reason,” the ambassador opined.

Since Brazil has a strong agricultural sector, the ambassador is confident in its ability to provide raw materials to Thailand. To attain mutual benefit, he said that clear communication is the key.

From left to right, Franc Han Shih and Ambassador H.E. Mr. José Borges dos Santos Júnior

Climate change strikes southern Brazil

Massive rainfall has caused widespread flooding, which inundated homes and a major airport in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. While the government has implemented water management plans to develop resilience, the record-breaking rainfall has paralysed the infrastructure. The ambassador said his government should expedite maintenance and build new infrastructure.

As more than 500,000 people have been displaced and many residents are still living in flooded homes, the Brazil-Thai Chamber of Commerce has begun fundraising for those affected by the extreme weather. The ambassador expressed gratitude to the chamber and donors who are helping Brazilians during the disaster.

“Donations always help. The Brazilian government is very concerned, so it has implemented a series of measures to support the recovery of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, which is our southernmost state. Their debt has been frozen for the next three years. There will be no interest charged. There are telephone lines being installed. All this is especially to recover the infrastructure of the state and to support people who have lost everything.

“I know that a lot of our friends have made very great donations, from people who trade with Brazil, from the other chambers of commerce in Thailand, and they are all very generous and I am very thankful for that,” the envoy said.

Simplest is the best

Thailand is the first assignment for Ambassador José in Asia in a 45-year diplomatic career. What impresses the Ambassador about Thailand is the rapid growth of the capital and the kindness of Thai people. “This is something I had never seen before. You wake up, you go to bed, and the next day, the landscape has changed. There’s a new building here. There are things that change so dramatically and so quickly,” he noted.

“Other aspects that really impress me in the country are the work ethic and the readiness to work of members of Thai society,” he added.

Coconut-based food in Thailand is similar to typical Brazilian food. The ambassador is fond of the simplest recipes, including pineapple fried rice, Tom Kagai and mango sticky rice.

By Franc Han Shih, Thai PBS World