Russia–Thailand relations (Russian: Российско-таиландские_отношения) is the bilateral relationship between Russia and Thailand. Soviet Union and Thailand established diplomatic relations with Thailand on March 12, 1941; Thailand recognized Russian Federation as the successor to Soviet Union on December 28, 1991. Russia has an embassy in Bangkok and two honorary consulates in Phuket and Pattaya. Thailand has an embassy in Moscow and two honorary consulates (in Saint Petersburg and Vladivostok). Both countries are full members of APEC and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (Russia is a participating state and Thailand is a partner).
Official figures of trade volume published by two countries contradict each other.
- According to Thai sources, trade with Russia in 2008 reached 2.11 billion US dollars; Thailand has a trade deficit of 1.76 billion US dollars. Russia exports mineral resources, while Thailand exports auto parts, electronics and foodstuffs.
- According to Russian customs service, Russian exports to Thailand in 2008 amounted to 1.23 billion, imports to 1.49 billion, leaving Russia with a deficit of 254 million US dollars. In total, trade with Thailand is only 0.4% of Russian foreign trade. According to Russian embassy in Bangkok, Thailand is Russia's largest trading partner in South-eastern Asia and third largest buyer of Russian ferrous metals worldwide.
As recently as in 2002, Russia had a significant trade deficit and imported significant (up to half a million metric tons p.a.) amounts of Thai rice. In 2005 Russia imposed prohibitive protectionist tariffs on rice, then an embargo on Thai rice and a full ban on imports of Thai rice in 2007, citing pest infection.
In 2004 Thailand approached Russian authorities about the prospects of buying 12 Su-30 jet fighters. Thai chicken industry, weakened by avian influenza crisis, enthusiastically backed the deal, betting on reciprocal easing of Russian food import regime, but the deal never materialized. In October 2008 Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat agreed to purchase Russian Mi-17 military helicopters, breaking with dependence on American weapons, however his government was ousted two months later.
Thailand is one of major tropical destination points for tourists from Russia, however, numbers provided by regional Thai authorities are contested by Russians as artificially inflated, and Thai authorities contest Russian numbers as too small:
- Russian border guards reported 259 thousands departures to Thailand in 2008 (235 thousands in 2007). Turkey, the most common destination, accounts for 2.2 million departures. Thai government sources noted that Russian number includes only direct flights, leaving out tourists that fly with stopovers elsewhere and reported 279 thousands Russian tourists for 2007.
- Thai tourist service reported 456,972 Russian "tourist visits" to Pattaya alone in January–March 2007 (of a total of 1.57 million). Russian commentators note that Thais actually counted hotel nights and their number should be divided by a factor of 10 to 11.
- "Thai-Russian Bilateral Relations: Statistics". Embassy of Thailand in Moscow. Retrieved 2009-05-19.
- "Foreign trade of Russia by partner country (in Russian)". Federal Customs Service. Retrieved 2009-05-29.
- "Trade and Economic Cooperation". Embassy of Russian Federation in the Kingdom of Thailand. Retrieved 2009-05-29.
- "Thailand Confirms Russia Ban On Thai Rice Imports". oryza.com, April 27, 2007. Retrieved 2009-05-28.
- "Russia ready to adopt account trade with Thailand". asiantribune.com, March 14, 2003. Retrieved 2009-05-28.[dead link]
- "Thailand: Russian Arms For Chicken Wings?". The New York Times. September 4, 2004. Retrieved 2009-05-28. "A trade delegation from Thailand, whose huge poultry industry has been stricken by avian influenza, is set to leave for Russia this weekend to discuss the possibility of swapping tons of chicken stocks for weapons, officials said."
- "CPF Backs Chicken for Fighter Jets: Plans to Barter With Thai Farm Products". Bangkok Post, 23 December 2005. Retrieved 2009-05-28.
- "Thailand spurns U.S., buys Russian helicopters". RIA Novosti, October 23, 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-28.
- "Official statistics of Russian State Tourism Service, 2007-2008". Retrieved 2009-05-29.
- "Tayskaya Pattaya prevratilas...". sibterra.ru, January 22, 2008. 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-28.
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