Thailand, New Zealand Agree to Resume Direct Flights

(Bloomberg) -- Thailand and New Zealand have agreed to resume direct flights after the pandemic shut air connectivity as leaders of the two countries vowed to triple bilateral trade in the next two decades.

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The two countries will also prioritize visa facilitation to achieve the goals of having 100,000 New Zealanders visit Thailand and 40,000 Thai tourists travel to New Zealand by next year, Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said at a joint press conference with his counterpart Christopher Luxon in Bangkok on Wednesday.

The two prime ministers agreed to expand economic cooperation and increase two-way trade and investment in areas of mutual expertise and interest, according to a joint statement. The leaders are looking forward to seeing tariff-free entry for all Thai and New Zealand imports from Jan. 1 and noted that bilateral trade has more than tripled in the 20 years since the countries signed an economic partnership pact.

Srettha and Luxon agreed to elevate diplomatic ties between the two nations to a Strategic Partnership “in 2026 or sooner”, according to the Thai leader. The two leaders also agreed to deepen cooperation to tackle organized crimes including human and drug trafficking.

(Corrects name of New Zealand prime minister in second paragraph in story published on Wednesday.)

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