Top officials at the signing ceremony in Sharjah on Tuesday.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
Bilateral trade between the United Arab Emirates and the Royal Kingdom of Thailand is set to soar to higher heights with the establishment of the UAE-Thai Business Council formalised at the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) on Tuesday.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the creation of the business council was held between the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) and the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry, and Banking.
It was witnessed by top-level officials of both countries led by UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Dr Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi and Thailand Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit.
The council members of the UAE-Thai Business Council are from the private sectors of both countries whose diplomatic relations began 48 years back.
On Tuesday, the first UAE-Thailand Business Forum was held. In attendance were FCCI Vice Chairman/SCCI Chairman Abdullah Sultan Al Owais, FCCI Secretary General Humaid Mohamed Bin Salem, SCCI-Board of Directors Second Vice Chairman Waleed Abdul Rahman Bukhatir, and SCCI Director General Mohammed Ahmed Amin Al Awadi, FCCI members and the business delegation from Thailand.
Al Zeyoudi noted that the UAE and Thailand share strong, continuously developing economic relations in vital sectors such as real estate, tourism, industry, hospitality, food security, agriculture, renewable energy, technology, logistics and healthcare. These sectors have helped boost the trade and joint investments in both countries. In 2022, the UAE was Thailand’s largest trading partner in the Arab World and ranked 13th globally. Non-oil trade between the two countries reached $6.1 billion.
Laksanawisit told Gulf Today he is also on an official visit to the UAE for other reasons namely “the meeting with Al Zayoudi to discuss the possible establishment of the Thailand-UAE Foreign Trade Agreement (FTA) and the signing of an MoU on logistics cooperation between DP World and the Thai Logistics Service Provider Federation, Thai National Shippers’ Council, Profreight International and Tiffa Logistics Centre, a cooperation that will help facilitate Thailand distribute its products to the world (via) the 78 ports and 240 airports of DP World.”
On the logistics cooperation, he said: “This will help expand Thailand’s exports. It will also help facilitate Thailand’s export of agricultural crops and food to the UAE as well as strengthen UAE’s food security.”
With him also is a group of Thai businessmen to sign a Memorandum of Purchasing with five pairs of UAE businessmen in the food, sanitary ware, auto parts, and melanine products industries.
While on Monday evening, Laksanawisit visited the Thai Souk which is a market of 50 shops in Souk Al Marfa in Dubai, he is also in the UAE to promote as well the Eastern Economic Corridor of the Southeast Asian kingdom, the Eastern Special Development Zone of over 2.8 million residents.
On the FTA, he said both sides have shared a common interest on the FTA and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement to help enhance the bilateral trade and investment in a sustainable manner and boost the competitiveness of business operators in Thailand and the UAE.
On the sidelines, Laksanawisit said target from the joint business council is 30 million Thai Baht (Dhs3,274,503.10/$891,504) in one year.
“We have invited the UAE to invest in industries that the country has expertise in like renewable energy, biotechnology, digital technology, transportation management and infrastructure,” he said.
As Phuket is one of the competitors for the “Specialised Expo 2028” under the theme “Future of Life, Living in Harmony, Sharing Prosperity,” Laksanawisit encouraged the UAE to support this project as well.
Meanwhile, Kamal Vachani, Group Director & Partner, Al Maya Group met Jurin Laksanawisit, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Commerce, Thailand during his visit to Dubai. Kamal Vachani introduced Al Maya Group and its activities to Jurin Laksanawisit.
Al Maya Group the Supermarket and FMCG conglomerate with over 50 supermarkets in the GCC countries in addition to other businesses has announced it will be adding more products to its portfolio from Thailand.
Al Maya already imports several FMCG products from Thailand such as Coconut Oil, Coconut Water, Coconut Milk, Tuna, Noodles, Curry Paster, Plant based milk, Chips, Tea, Rice, fruits and vegetables such as Rambutan, Mangosteen, Longan, Guava, Papaya and Mango that continue to be popular across nationalities from the country and in an effort to offer more to its customers, it is planning to expand on this portfolio, informed Mr Kamal Vachani, Group Director and Partner.
The group’s representatives have been participating in several trade shows to strengthen Al Maya’s relationship with Thailand’s market, added Kamal Vachani.