In January 2022, Saudi Arabia and Thailand restored full diplomatic ties, following more than 3 decades of frozen relations. The rapprochement comes in parallel with a joint declaration that the parties will explore joint investment in fields ranging from energy and petrochemicals to tourism and hospitality.
Tourism in particular is a key element of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia’s economic reform plan which is meant to diversify the kingdom’s economy away from oil. The pursuit of food security is another crucial priority for Riyadh, and a potential area of cooperation with Thailand. The rapprochement potentially opens up a new market for Thai exports, especially consumer goods, machinery, and agricultural products. Saudi Arabian Airlines has announced that it would start direct flights from Riyadh to Bangkok in May 2023.
The total trade exchange between Saudi Arabia and Thailand in the past five years amounted to USD 35 billion, with the kingdom’s exports to Thailand valued at USD 4 billion in 2020, and Thailand’s exports to Saudi Arabia valued at USD 1.65 billion in the same year.
(Sources: Bangkok Post; The Nation)