RIYADH: The Thai Trade Exhibition Saudi Arabia 2023 began on Sunday in Riyadh aimed at boosting commercial ties between the two countries and offering a platform for members of their respective business communities to explore opportunities.
Thai Ambassador Darm Boontham inaugurated the first edition of the trade show, which showcases over 100 prominent Thai brands from the Southeast Asian country.
The envoy thanked the Kingdom for its support to the Thai Embassy in organizing the event. He expressed his gratitude to several government bodies such as the General Authority of Foreign Trade, the Saudi Business Center, and the Federation of the Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
“I do hope that the Thai Trade Exhibition 2023 will contribute greatly in forging closer economic ties between the two kingdoms,” Boontham said.
The four-day event is a result of a collaborative effort between the Thai Embassy and the Saudi General Authority for Foreign Trade.
In his opening remarks at the inauguration, Abdulaziz Alsakran, deputy governor of international relations at GAFT, said: “This event marks a milestone in the strong relationship between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom of Thailand.”
“We gather not only to celebrate the impressive collection of Thai products and services but also to highlight the depth of the friendship and collaboration in our bilateral ties,” he added.
The Saudi official highlighted the efforts of both countries in boosting trade ties. He said those efforts have resulted in “effective and key partnerships, positioning Saudi Arabia as Thailand’s second (top) trading partner in the region.”
The exhibition aims to catalyze and enrich trade and economic interactions between the two nations and is being attended by entrepreneurs, professionals, and companies eager to tap into potential business prospects and forge partnerships.
In addition to the business aspect, the event will provide an opportunity for visitors interested in tourism and cultural exchange to explore Thailand’s heritage and attractions.
According to an official announcement by the Thai government, over 100 manufacturers and entrepreneurs from the country are showcasing a wide range of products from different sectors such as food and beverage, fashion, health, beauty, jewelry, medical services, and spas.
“This will also be a good opportunity for Thai products and services to be recognized in Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region,” it added.
The Thai Trade Exhibition includes a pavilion featuring GAFT, emphasizing its role in enhancing trade ties with different countries through market expansion and the presentation of investment prospects.
“Saudi Arabia is a very important friend of Thailand in the Middle East. With the restoration of full diplomatic ties in January 2022, both sides have been exchanging visits of high-level government officials and business people forging closer friendships with one another,” Prayoon Inskul, permanent secretary of Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation.
Investors from Saudi Arabia are enthusiastic about venturing into new opportunities, and Thailand is widely recognized among people from the Middle East for its exceptional culinary offerings and reputation in the field of medical tourism.
As a result, Thai SMEs and investors have a fantastic opportunity to establish businesses and find trading partners throughout the Middle East and Saudi Arabia.
Relations between Saudi Arabia and the Southeast Asian nation have been growing stronger in recent months.
“The trade volume between our two countries has been on an upward trajectory reaching around $10 billion in 2022. However, it is still less than the aspirations of our leaders as there are many untapped potentials to be achieved,” Alsakran added.
Last November, authorities in Thailand proposed a bilateral cooperation plan to strengthen their country’s ties with the Kingdom, as a high-profile investment delegation from Riyadh visited Bangkok.
In June, a top Thai official said companies from Thailand are ready to invest a combined $36 million in Saudi Arabia.
Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, revealed the figure during a meeting of the Saudi-Thai Business Forum in Riyadh.
Angubolkul said that eight Thai companies are looking to invest the sum in Saudi Arabia, expressing his country’s readiness to cooperate with the Kingdom in the energy and crude oil storage industry.
The volume of trade exchange between Saudi Arabia and Thailand grew by 37 percent in 2022 to reach SR36.8 billion ($9.81 billion).
In November, Auramon Supthaweethum, director general of Thailand’s Department of Trade Negotiations, told Arab News that the country could become Saudi Arabia’s “gateway” to Asian markets following Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Bangkok as a special guest of the Thai government.