January 28, 2022
BANGKOK – In 2021, Thailand’s exports to Saudi Arabia were valued at around US$1.5 billion, or 0.6 per cent of total exports.
If Thailand opens the door to more trade with Saudi Arabia, the share of exports to Saudi Arabia could return to 2.2 per cent as it was in 1989, worth more than $5 billion, said Sanan.
He forecast that Thailand would be able to penetrate the automobile and parts market, food and processed food products, mechanical and electrical equipment which is an area with potential.
Saudi Arabia is considered the centre of the Middle East and has plans to expand and develop the country without relying solely on oil. Products with an opportunity to earn additional income include industrial machinery, automobiles and parts, iron and steel, which accounted for 27.5 per cent of total imports of Saudi Arabia.
In the past, Saudi Arabia was also Thailand’s largest labour market in the Middle East. More than 200,000 Thai workers were employed in Saudi Arabia, sending home an average of 9 billion baht per year in remittances.
The restoration of this relationship will give Thai workers the opportunity to return to work in Saudi Arabia. It is expected that the number of Thai workers in Saudi Arabia will increase to 50,000 people within three years and to 100,000 people within five years, which would bring in about 2.25 billion to 4.5 billion baht in remittances per year, he forecast.