A high-level Thai business delegation will visit Saudi Arabia on February 26th, the first in many years, to promote trade and business between the two countries.
Sanan Angubolkul, president of the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Trade, said that the delegation will visit Riyadh, the Saudi capital, and Neom.
The delegation will meet with their Saudi counterparts and the government sector for discussions on the expansion of trade between Thailand and Saudi Arabia.
Last year, Thailand exported US$1.6 billion worth of goods to Saudi Arabia, representing just 0.2% of Thailand’s overall exports, said Sanan, as he expressed hope that Thai exports to the oil-rich Arab kingdom will increase to US$5 billion,which was the level registered in 1989 when relations between the two countries were still normal.
Sanan said that Thai goods with market potential in Saudi Arabia are cars, car accessories, fresh and processed food, machinery and electrical appliances.
Ronnarong Phoolpipat, director of the Commerce Ministry’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office, said that the improvement in relations between the two countries, following Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s visit to Riyadh on January 26thand 27th, the first by a Thai prime minister in more than three decades, will open up opportunities for Thai labour, investment, tourism and trade.
Bilateral trade between the two countries this year is expected to reach 280 billion baht, an expansion of about 20.3%, with exports set to increase to about 54 billion baht, an expansion of 6.2%, compared to 225 billion baht in imports, which are mainly oil and gas. This is an increase of 24.3%, resulting in a trade deficit of 171 billion baht.
Saudi Arabia’s economy is the second largest in the Middle East, after that of Turkey.
Thai-Saudi relations soured more than 30 years ago and diplomatic relations were downgraded after a Thai worker stole jewellery, including a precious blue diamond, from a Saudi palace and the subsequent murder of three Saudi diplomats and a businessman in Thailand. Several of the stolen jewellery items returned to Riyadh were found to be counterfeit, but the Blue Diamond has never traced.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service