Thailand aims to become first BRICS member in Southeast Asia, eyeing more development opportunities
Published: May 29, 2024 10:40 PM
People walk near the venue of the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, Aug. 20, 2023. (Xinhua/Zhang Yudong)

People walk near the venue of the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, Aug. 20, 2023. (Xinhua/Zhang Yudong)

Thailand will apply to join BRICS to become the group's first member from Southeast Asia, after the Thai cabinet has approved the letter of intent for the country to join the organization, a Thai government spokesperson was cited by media reports as saying on Tuesday. 

From the perspective of the BRICS group itself, analysts said that the expansion of BRICS to include more members helps create a more balanced global economy and push for further development of the Global South.

Joining the BRICS countries will enhance Thailand's international status and increase Thailand's opportunities on the international stage, the spokesperson said.

According to Thailand government spokesperson Chai Wacharonke, the country realizes the importance of multilateralism and the increasing role of developing countries in the international arena. The country's vision is in line with the BRICS principles, according to a Bangkok Post report on Tuesday.

The draft letter also outlines dozens of benefits for Thailand in joining the BRICS, one of those are allowing the Southeast country to team up with other Global South countries in boosting its presence on the global stage.

Social media also signaled positive feedback on the application. "The strong dollar is scaring Thailand again. People in Thailand are no longer interested in accepting US currency for payment," a Thai netizen wrote on social media platform X on Wednesday.

Local media outlets and think tanks have also helped create a good atmosphere for acquiring a BRCIS membership. On August 25, 2023, the Nation reported that as global economic issues could escalate, more countries might consider joining BRICS to address economic changes, adding that joining the BRICS would present economic opportunities for Thailand.

According to a report from the Bangkok-based Kasikorn Research Center, if Thailand joins the BRICS cooperation mechanism, it will gain new development opportunities.

Thailand's trade with BRICS countries accounted for 22.8 percent of the country's total trade volume. For Thailand, joining BRICS helps to diversify trade, investment, and financial risks and gain new development opportunities, said the report.

Given the influence of BRICS countries in the global trade negotiations, Thailand's government has made a right and the win-win decision to apply for BRICS membership, Wang Youming, director of the Institute of Developing Countries at the China Institute of International Studies in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"Joining BRICS opens vast economic horizons for this Southeast Asian country as it is working hard to develop modern technologies and digital transformation as part of its sustainable development goals," Wang added. 

With its efforts to seek win-win cooperation for a shared future, the BRICS has welcomed Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as new members during the bloc's summit in August 2023. Their membership has taken effect since Jan. 1,2024, according to Xinhua News Agency.

China also offered its congratulations to these countries, saying that it will inject fresh vitality into the BRICS cooperation mechanism, and further strengthen the forces for world peace and development.

Russia holds the rotating chair of BRICS for the year and will host the BRICS Summit in Kazan in October, aiming at further enhancing cooperation among BRICS members, said Xinhua.