Thai businesses can expect expanded opportunities in Saudi Arabia, following the restoration of diplomatic relations between both countries.
According to the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC), a group of officials and delegates representing private firms are visiting Saudi Arabia from May 15-18, to further enhance the commercial affairs of the two countries.
The visit is being led by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai. It is the first official visit by Thai officials and private representatives in 32 years.
TCC Chairman Sanan Angubolkul said delegates from 38 firms have joined the group, visiting the Saudi cities of Riyadh, Al-Ula and Jeddah and attending the Saudi-Thai Investment Forum on May 16, co-hosted by Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment.
The visit aims to boost the value of Thai exports to Saudi Arabia to 150 billion baht, in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 to see 65% of its national gross national product (GDP) generated by the private sector, and to increase the ratio of non-petroleum exports to 50% of GDP.
Mr Don Pramudwinai said Saudi Arabia is expected to provide about 200,000 vacancies for Thai workers as the two countries take another step closer after restoring bilateral ties. They also finalised the draft of a memorandum of understanding to set up a Thai-Saudi cooperation council jointly chaired by their respective foreign ministers.
In addition, they agreed in principle to waive visas for holders of diplomatic and official passports, Mr Don said, adding Saudi Arabia will consider helping 800 Thais who have overstayed their visas in the Arab country.
Thai Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin met with Human Resources and Social Development (HRSD) Minister Ahmad Sulaiman Al Rajhi on March 28 to attend the signing ceremony in the capital.
Thailand is also seeking assistance that the rights of both employers and employees will be respected, while enforcing regulations to ensure fair payments, welfare and privileges as well as cooperation on human trafficking issues.
Thai workers will initially be sent there via state-to-state cooperation to minimise broker costs. The Ministry of Labour will assist in training individuals interested in working in the country, while the HRSD will be responsible for regulating workers’ qualifications, pay, privileges and other requirements that will be needed.
Saudi Arabia said it will roll out measures to help maintain the quality of life and welfare of foreign migrant workers, including an electronic-contract programme for rights protection and a labour mobility initiative to assist workers in the hospitality, health and industrial sectors.
There are 1,334 Thai employees in the country, mostly working in factories and restaurants or as domestic workers.
Source: National News Bureau/ Bangkok Post