“This is a good opportunity to build mutual confidence in trade and investment. Thailand has the potential to become a hub in Asean for Saudi Arabian trade and investment,” Sanan said.
“The Board of Trade is confident that Thailand is well prepared to serve as Asean’s hub after recent roadshows,” he added.
The executive was referring to visits to Saudi Arabia by Thai delegations from the Board of Investment, the Eastern Economic Corridor and the private sector.
Sanan himself led a business delegation to Saudi Arabia for the first time in 32 years from May 15-18, in order to restore trade and investment.
After three decades of sour ties, Thailand and Saudi Arabia in January agreed to normalise diplomatic relations when Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha paid an official visit to the Gulf nation and met with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud.
Sanan said on Thursday that trade between both countries is estimated to reach tens of billions of baht this year.
He was speaking after attending a meeting of representatives from 38 companies who participated in the recent trip to Saudi Arabia. The meeting discussed the progress in negotiations with their Saudi counterparts, as well as business matching.
Sanan said Saudi Arabians appeared to be most interested in tourism and wellness, asking to learn about business management from the Thai side.
During last week’s roadshow, the Thai delegation introduced more selections of Thai-made food products to Saudi Arabian firms, in addition to their normal imports, according to Sanan.
He added, however, that the Thai government should ask Saudi Arabia to relax its import restrictions on certain food products, which he did not name.
“In addition to human food, the Saudis are also interested in animal food, as they have a lot of cats there,” Sanan said.
He also made it clear that Thai labour is in demand in Saudi Arabia, with that country seeking hospital executives, doctors, nurses, construction workers and automotive staff.
Published : May 26, 2022