The economic relationship between Thailand and Saudi Arabia is thriving, with a number of partnership deals in the pipeline.
Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, has been visiting the country with a Thai delegation led by Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai from June 6-9. Mr Sanan said that during the visit, PTT Oil and Retail Business Plc (OR) unveiled its plan to establish petrol stations in Saudi Arabia.
Existing petrol stations in Saudi Arabia lack convenience, and the business community there invited OR to open petrol stations along with retail space, suitable bathrooms, and other necessary facilities similar to its Thai model, said Mr Sanan.
OR is also in discussions over a joint investment in a large-scale green hydrogen project in Thailand, aiming to become a central supply hub for various industries in the region, he said.
Siam Cement Group expects to open an office in Saudi Arabia by September and is interested in investing in the construction ecosystem to expand its supply chain in various parts of the country, such as packaging and polyvinyl chloride businesses, said Mr Sanan.
Charoen Pokphand Foods, a leading Thai agro-industrial and food conglomerate, is interested in developing aquaculture and poultry businesses and is in negotiations with Saudi-based Neom Food Company for joint investments, he said.
Health and Wellness Management Consulting Co has teamed up with Saudi Arabia's Quality of Life Tourism Co to invest in health and wellness centres in both Saudi Arabia and Thailand, with a combined investment value of up to 17.5 billion baht.
The Saudis are willing to let Thai entrepreneurs use its business incubation centre, said Mr Sanan. If the startups of both countries agree to collaborate and exchange work together, and there is subsequent investment collaboration between the entrepreneurs on the two sides, the Saudi incubation centre is ready to provide additional support in terms of venture capital.
During the first four months of this year, bilateral trade between Thailand and Saudi Arabia reached a value of US$3.16 billion, an increase of 17.5%. Exports from Thailand amounted to $799 million, up 33% and accounting for 0.87% of global trade value. Imports into Thailand rose by 13.1% to $2.36 billion.
In 2022, the total trade value between the two parties reached $9.22 billion, with exports from Thailand worth $2.04 billion and imports at $7.17 billion. Key Thai exports include tractors, machinery and parts, wood and wood products, charcoal, rubber and rubber products, and processed fish or aquatic animals.
Key Thai imports include fuel derived from mineral oils, distilled products, bituminous minerals, fertilisers, plastics and plastic products, as well as organic chemicals.