“Thailand is preparing to establish a coordination council with Saudi Arabia to promote newly restored relations, including trade and investment,” a senior official of Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce has said.
According to Arab News, the bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Thailand were at a standstill in the 1980s.
Relations between the two countries were renewed when the Prime Minister of Thailand visited Riyadh at the end of January this year at the invitation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It was the first high-level meeting between the two countries in three decades.
During the visit of the Thai Prime Minister, the Kingdom and Thailand discussed the roadmap for their bilateral relations.
Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Darm Boontham said last month that the roadmap would be made official during the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Thai leadership has invited Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a special guest to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Bangkok on November 18-19.
Director of the Department of Trade Negotiations at the Thai Ministry of Commerce, Uma Puran Fitrakol, told Arab News that a coordination council is expected to be established during the visit to implement the roadmap for the relationship.
He said that the details of the liaison council will be announced when Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visits Thailand.
Umapuran Fitrakol further said that the “coordination council will consist of committees and one of them will be trade and economy which has been agreed to be jointly chaired by the commerce ministries from both sides”.
Since the restoration of bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Thailand, there have been many agreements and official visits. The two governments have also signed several cooperation agreements and the volume of trade between them has already increased significantly.
Between February and September 2022, bilateral trade between Thailand and Saudi Arabia reached $7.2 billion, up from $4.5 billion in the same period last year, according to data from the Saudi Ministry of Commerce.
In the same time frame, Thailand’s exports to Saudi Arabia were $1.3 billion, up 23 percent, while imports were $5.9 billion, up more than 72 percent.
Thailand’s top exports to Saudi Arabia in 2022 included automobiles, spare parts, wood products, home appliances, electrical devices and processed seafood.
Major imports from Saudi Arabia were crude oil, fertilizers, natural gas and metal products.
Trade between Saudi Arabia and Thailand is expected to improve further as the Cooperation Council will come up with a framework to advance economic relations between the two countries.