BANGKOK: Thailand’s authorities suggested a bilateral cooperation plan on Tuesday to boost the country’s recently restored relations with Saudi Arabia, according to a government spokesperson, as a high-profile investment group from Riyadh landed in Bangkok.
A Saudi team of 150 officials from state-owned and private firms led by Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih attended the Thai-Saudi Investment Forum in Bangkok on Monday.
Following the reopening of bilateral relations earlier this year, Saudi authorities hosted a similar event in Riyadh in May. “Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs offered a draft plan to develop bilateral relations between Thailand and Saudi Arabia in the period 2022-2024.” In a news conference, Thai government deputy spokeswoman Ratchada Thanadirek said, “The plan was submitted to the Cabinet, and the Cabinet approved it.”
“The mobilization to boost Thailand-Saudi Arabia relations has been ongoing since the Thai prime minister’s official state visit to Saudi Arabia earlier this year.”
“Cooperation has been mobilized in trade, investment, and Thai labor export to Saudi Arabia.” These have been occurring on a continuous basis.”
She went on to say that the collaboration plan would be signed with Saudi Arabia during Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s scheduled visit this month.
The Thai government has asked the crown prince to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Bangkok on November 18 and 19.
“The government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will sign a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of the Saudi-Thai Coordination Council,” Thanadirek stated.
“This will be a structure for cooperation, consultation, and discussion on matters of mutual importance to Thailand and Saudi Arabia.”
Saudi-Thai relations stopped in the 1980s and were rekindled in late January after Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha visited Riyadh at the invitation of the crown prince.
It was the first encounter of the two kingdoms’ highest leaders in more than three decades.
Many agreements and formal visits have occurred since the restoration of ties. A number of cooperation agreements have also been inked by the two administrations.
Politics, security, immigration procedures, energy cooperation, petrochemical, food, construction, and consumer goods exports, and cooperation in e-sports and sports tourism are all part of the present aim to expand relations.
“Thai business owners will benefit greatly from this,” Thanadirek remarked.
According to Visit Limlurcha, vice chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, who attended the Thai-Saudi Investment Forum on Monday, Saudi Arabia’s reliance on food imports created prospects for Thai exporters.
Although Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s most food-secure countries, it relies significantly on imports to cover around 80% of its food demands.
“Food is one of the most important imported items into Saudi Arabia.” “They mainly focus on importing foods,” Limlurcha, chairman of Thailand’s Processed Food and Future Food Committee, stated.
“Aside from halal food, we offer a wide range of food goods that can meet Saudi Arabia’s needs.”
He saw export possibilities in other industries as well, such as car components, cosmetics, and jewelry.
Thailand, which has long-established competence in tourism promotion, may invest in Saudi Arabia in the hotel sector.
“The tourist and hotel industries are where Saudi Arabia wants Thailand to invest more.” “Saudi Arabia is striving to open up their country and welcomes more visitors,” Limlurcha remarked.
He noted that Monday’s forum provided Thai businesses with an opportunity to network with their Saudi counterparts.
“The atmosphere at the forum yesterday was lively,” he remarked.
“The reopening of relations will provide tremendous prospects for entrepreneurs in Thailand and Saudi Arabia.” Saudi Arabia has a large number of businesses who are eager to invest.
“Previously, the status of relations made trading impossible, but today opportunities are knocking on our door,” he continued.
Source: Arab News