PM wants quick action on restoring cooperation with Saudis

PM wants quick action on restoring cooperation with Saudis

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, fourth from right, and Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai, sixth from left, join an ardah sword dance while touring the cultural heritage town of Diriyah during their one-day visit to Saudi Arabia late last month. (Photo: Government House)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, fourth from right, and Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai, sixth from left, join an ardah sword dance while touring the cultural heritage town of Diriyah during their one-day visit to Saudi Arabia late last month. (Photo: Government House)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha wants progress in the restoration of working cooperation with Saudi Arabia within two months, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on Monday.

Gen Prayut has ordered all agencies involved to quickly prepare a roadmap to ensure that  agreements reached in Riyadh could be translated into action as soon as possible, he said.

The roadmap would focus on trade and labour cooperation in particular, the spokesman said. There were plenty of opportunities there.

The normalisation of bilateral relations would allow Thai goods and businesses to reach more markets.

Since the agreement to normalise ties was reached on Jan 25, the Commerce Ministry had  been in talks with the Central Islamic Council of Thailand and the Thai Chamber of Commerce to explore trade opportunities in Saudi Arabia.

The ministry had since revised its export projections, aiming to increase exports to Saudi Arabia by 6.2% this year. Last year, exports to the Middle East kingdom were worth 51.5 billion baht.

Kasikorn Research Centre also predicted exports to Saudi Arabia would exceed US$1.9 billion baht (about 60 billion baht) this year, driven by renewed interest in Saudi Arabia by businesses and tourists.

Mr Thanakorn said products well-positioned for the Saudi market included rice, poultry, fish, coffee and halal produce. Also, Thai-made cars and accessories, household appliances, and jewellery.

Thai workers were well-poised to enter the Saudi service industry, especially the medical tourism sector, he said.

To ensure Thai workers could compete in Saudi Arabia, labour authorities had asked their Saudi counterparts which skills were most highly sought in Saudi Arabia.

This information would be used to guide efforts to upskill the workers. He said job seekers could register with the Department of Employment at www.doe.go.th/prd.

The labour roadmap would be finalised by the end of the month, the spokesman said.

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