Saudi Arabia, Thailand announce start of business council to further economic ties

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The Federation of Saudi Chambers announced the establishment of a joint Saudi-Thai Business Council to advance economic relations on both ends.

The announcement was made during the Saudi-Thai Business Forum that saw more than 350 senior officials and business owners from the two countries, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.

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Both Saudi Arabia and Thailand restored full diplomatic ties earlier this year following a formal meeting between Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on January 25.

It marked the first government level visit in more than 30 years between the two countries.

Saudi Arabia downgraded its relations with Bangkok after a diplomatic row over a theft in 1989 of jewels worth an estimated $20 million by a Thai janitor working in the palace of a Saudi prince. The incident became known as the “Blue Diamond Affair.”

Since the restoration of ties, many agreements and official visits followed including Saudi Aramco and Thailand’s PTT having signed an MoU to deepen energy cooperation in Thailand.

In marks of further progress, during the event, Deputy Prime Minister and Thailand’s Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit indicated that the Kingdom could be a “major energy supplier to Thailand, and Thailand could be a primary source of the Kingdom's food security,” according to the SPA report.

The Thai diplomat’s visit also saw two more government-level agreements in free trade and the facilitation of commercial procedures, in addition to the signing of five agreements between Saudi and Thai companies.

No further details were provided on the latter five agreements.

Trade between Saudi Arabia and Thailand from 2017 to 2021 amounted to $34 billion (SAR 130 billion), with $7.1 billion (SAR26.8 billion) just in 2021 – a 29 percent increase compared to 2020 figures.

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