China’s Sinopec interested in Saudi shale gas project, says president

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Amid growing collaboration between Saudi Arabia and Thailand, the trade ties between the two countries are projected to increase to SR1 billion ($266.5 million) in the next three to five years, predicted a Thai official.

The volume of trade between Riyadh and Bangkok was recorded at SR470 million in 2022. Talking to Arab News on the sidelines of the Thai Trade Exhibition Saudi Arabia 2023 that is currently underway in Riyadh, Prayoon Inskul, permanent secretary of the Thai Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation of Thailand, said trade is likely to grow across various sectors, especially in fisheries and livestock.

Prayoon Inskul, permanent secretary of the Thai Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation of Thailand. AN photo by Huda Bashatah

Describing Saudi Arabia as the “center of the GCC region,” Inkul said it is the hub of trade and distribution of products to other countries in the region.

Riyadh and Bangkok have managed to forge a robust economic alliance, which is underpinned by several factors including shared economic interests and a commitment to leveraging each other’s strengths.

Thai Ambassador Darm Boomtham told Arab News that his country also had a strong petrochemical industry with extensive experience in downstream products.

“We have more than 30 years of experience” in this field, he said. “We can also learn more from Saudi Arabia because the Kingdom is a champion” in this sector, the envoy added.

The four-day trade show in Riyadh seeks to boost trade ties between the two countries. 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.

The event has drawn the participation of entrepreneurs, professionals, and companies who are enthusiastic about capitalizing on potential business prospects and establishing collaborative partnerships.

Boomtham said by organizing such events we aim to encourage the business community from both countries to explore investment opportunities. He told Arab News that the Thai authorities had organized three pre-business forums since 2022 to motivate the business communities of the two nations.

Thai Ambassador Darm Boomtham. AN photo by Huda Bashatah

The first day of the trade exhibition featured a roundtable discussion on halal products, which was organized by Thailand’s Halal Science Center, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, and the Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization, also known as SASO.

“The (Thailand’s) Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has also been strengthening technical cooperation with the relevant Saudi agencies, especially on halal standards and measures, and factors on production such as fertilizers,” Inskul told Arab News.

“The ministry also has plans to introduce alternative protein products, including rice varieties for health benefits to correspond with Saudi Arabia’s NEOM policy which aims to reform the process of production, distribution, and consumption of products, which includes encouraging the consumption of novel foods,” he added.

The Thai ambassador said Thailand’s Halal Science Center is playing a vital role in the development of halal industry in the Southeast Asian country due to its huge potential.

Last November, Thai authorities put forth a bilateral collaboration proposal aimed at bolstering the relationship between their country and the Kingdom. This initiative coincided with a significant investment delegation from Riyadh visiting Bangkok.

In June, a senior Thai official announced that Thai enterprises are prepared to commit a collective investment of $36 million in Saudi Arabia.

This announcement was made by Sanan Angubolkul, the chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, during a session of the Saudi-Thai Business Forum held in Riyadh.

Angubolkul said that a total of eight Thai companies are actively considering investments amounting to the mentioned sum within Saudi Arabia.

He also underlined his nation’s willingness to collaborate closely with the Kingdom in sectors such as energy and crude oil storage.

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