Stronger links sought with Qatar
The private sector is being urged to partner with Qatar, a country looking for joint ventures with Thai partners on energy, infrastructure, public health, tourism and trade under its Look East policy.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak met Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani, Qatar's deputy prime minister and foreign minister, in Bangkok on Thursday. They discussed how the two countries hope to cooperate on trade and investment in energy, infrastructure and the Eastern Economic Corridor.
"Qatar's sovereign wealth fund has also shown interest in investing in Thai stocks, while the Thai government has proposed that Qatar ramp up its investment in Thailand as the gateway to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam," Mr Somkid said.
Qatar has amassed US$338 billion in assets around the globe, making its sovereign wealth fund the 14th largest in the world.
The Qatari foreign minister also paid a visit to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday.
Mr Somkid plans to lead the Board of Investment, economic ministers and representatives of the business sector on a visit to Qatar some time this year.
Qatar is Thailand's third-largest trade partner in the Middle East and the 24th-largest trade partner of Thailand in the global market.
Two-way trade amounted to $3.91 billion in 2018, up 38.6% from the previous year. Exports from Thailand made up $379.1 million, with imports valued at $3.52 billion.
Qatar's investment in Thailand totalled $4.32 million in 2018, while Thai investment in Qatar was worth $609 million in 2018.
Qatar is a key energy source for Thailand, which receives 7% of its total imported energy from Qatar.
Qatari visitors to Thailand numbered 35,838 in 2018, with most seeking medical services. Qatar is eager for Thai hospitals to set up branches in Qatar, as the country hopes to become a medical hub for the Mideast.