BANGKOK (NNT) – State and private sector organizations have been preparing for the expansion of Thai-Saudi cooperation in many areas, especially trade, following the recent official visit of Thailand’s prime minister to Saudi Arabia. A delegation from the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) is expected to travel to Saudi Arabia to boost trade ties.
Ahead of the TCC trip, private sector representatives on Friday (11 Feb) met with Ministry of Commerce officials to discuss removing trade obstacles. The ad-hoc meeting of the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce was aimed at making preparations for the restoration of Thai-Saudi trade relations.
TCC Chairman Sanan Angubolkul noted that trade benefits had been suspended during the 32 years of downgraded Thai-Saudi diplomatic relations, while tariffs were also imposed or increased across a range of product categories. He said the Ministry of Commerce would need to ‘unlock’ these obstacles and open FTA negotiations using the Gulf Cooperation Council as a platform.
Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said Thailand exported 51 billion baht worth of goods to Saudi Arabia in 2021. This represented a significant deficit, as Thailand imported 180 billion baht worth of goods from Saudi Arabia – mostly in the form of oil.
Jurin said this year, Thailand aims to increase farm exports by 6.2%. Saudi Arabia imports all of the rice it consumes, 80% of which it sources from India. Thailand, therefore, has a sizable opportunity to become a major rice exporter to Saudi Arabia, which consumes 1.2-1.6 million tonnes of rice each year.
The commerce minister added that opportunities also abound for the exportation of Thai chicken products, with Saudi Arabia importing 1.48 million tonnes each year. However, Thai producers face the hurdle of getting their factories certified under standards imposed by Arab nations. Jurin said the Ministry of Commerce will work with the Department of Livestock Development to address this issue.
According to Jurin, his ministry will propose that an official Thai-Saudi joint trade committee (JTC) be established to facilitate FTA negotiations. The commerce ministry will also support the exchange of trade delegations and promotional activities between the two countries.
Information and Source
Reporter : Natthaphon Sangpolsit
Rewriter : Paul Rujopakarn
National News Bureau : http://thainews.prd.go.th