Pact to smooth Saudi trade, investment ties

Pact to smooth Saudi trade, investment ties

Thai companies sign MoUs with ministry

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Investment, Khalid Abdulaziz Al-Falih (left) shakes hands with Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce in an undated photo.
Saudi Arabia's Minister of Investment, Khalid Abdulaziz Al-Falih (left) shakes hands with Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce in an undated photo.

The Board of Trade of Thailand has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Federation of Saudi Chambers on cooperation in five areas to boost trade and investment between the two parties.

According to Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Board of Trade of Thailand, the five areas comprise a plan to set up a Thai-Saudi Business Forum between businesses from the two sides, trade exhibition support, investment and regulation-related information exchange, business facilitation, and free trade agreement (FTA) talks between Thailand and Saudi Arabia to stimulate bilateral trade.

In addition, according to Mr Sanan, Thai private companies such as Siam Cement Group, Gulf Energy Development, Indorama, Minor Group and Dusit Thani had also signed MoUs with the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia on cooperation in different areas of business.

"Saudi entrepreneurs are very interested in importing food and fruits, especially durian," said Mr Sanan who led Thai business delegations to Saudi Arabia for the first time in 32 years during May 15-18 to restore trade and investment relations.

Some 38 executives of leading Thai companies from different sectors including agriculture, food, energy, chemicals, real estate, construction materials, automotive, aerospace, technology, digital, gems and jewellery, tourism and services, healthcare, consumer products and construction joined the trade mission.

The visit followed Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's visit to Saudi Arabia in January this year, and the subsequent agreement between Thailand and Saudi Arabia to fully restore diplomatic relations after a freeze of more than three decades.

According to Mr Sanan, Saudi business people are also paying an interest in construction materials and tourism cooperation, as Saudi Arabia has set a very challenging target to increase tourists to 100 million by 2030 from 20 million tourists at present, as the country focuses more on the non-oil sector.

Saudi Arabia is Thailand's second-largest market in the region after Turkey.

In 2021, trade tallied 241 billion baht. Of the total, exports accounted for 53.9 billion baht, and imports made up 187 billion.

The Commerce Ministry's latest study predicts bilateral trade between Thailand and Saudi Arabia to reach 280 billion baht in 2022, a rise of 20.3% over the previous year. Of the total, exports are expected to represent 54.7 billion baht, up 6.2%, with imports valued at 226 billion, a rise of 24.3%.

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