11 July 2024

A high-level Thai delegation was in Saudi Arabia on July 25th and 26th to hold discussions between counterparts to form a framework of cooperation in investment and other areas, according to Deputy Secretary-General to the Prime Minister on Political Affairs Anucha Burapachaisri.

Led by Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow and Thai trade representative chairman M.L. Chayotid Kridakorn, discussions were held with their Saudi counterparts, led by Investment Minister Khalid A. AlFalih, on Monday morning and with another delegation, led by Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman, the energy minister, in the afternoon.

Anucha said that the discussions focused on setting a framework for cooperation between the two countries on investment in such industries as clean and alternative energy, electric vehicles, wellness tourism, the creative economy and sustainable agriculture.

He said that the collaboration is in line with Saudi Arabia’s development plan under the Saudi Vision 2030, a strategic framework to reduce the country’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public service sectors, and creates opportunities for Thai investors in Saudi Arabia.

In the evening, the Thai delegation visited the Innovation Centre of the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), the second largest public company in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, which is engaged in the production of petrochemicals, chemicals, polymers, fertilisers and metals, with businesses in 50 countries worldwide.

Anucha said the deputy prime minister was impressed with the innovations on display at the centre, which has received an award from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

On Tuesday, the delegation was briefed by Saudi Ministry of Energy on the Saudi Arabia Energy Transition Strategy and held discussions with Mohammad Abunayyan, chairman of the board of directors of ACWA Power, on cooperation in clean and alternative energy.

After more than 30 years of soured ties, over the jewellery theft from a Saudi palace by a Thai worker, known as the Blue Diamond affair, and the murders of Saudi diplomats and a businessman in Thailand, relations between Thailand and Saudi Arabia were normalised after an official visit by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to Saudi Arabia in January, during which he met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who is also deputy prime minister and defence minister.

The normalisation of relations has led to an exchange of visits by delegations of the two countries, the opening up of the labour market in Saudi Arabia to skilled Thai workers and permission for Saudis to visit Thailand.