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Saudi and Thai officials at the fair. Image Credit: Source: Saudi Ministry of Commerce

Cairo: Thailand has unveiled a major trade fair in Riyadh, the latest sign of the southeast Asian country’s growing ties with Saudi Arabia.

The ground-breaking exhibit was co-opened by Saudi Minister of Commerce Majed Al Kassabi and Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara.

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Known as Thailand Mega Fair 2023, the event aims to redfine Thaild’s presence in the Middle East by displaying a wide range of Thai products and innovative services in several sectors.

Hailing the two countries’ relations, the Saudi official said Saudi Arabia is Thailand’s second trade partner among the region’s countries with their trade exchange reaching 10 billion dollars with a 38 per cent growth last year compared to 2021. Al Kassabi described the current Thai fair as a milestone towards economic diversity and trade cooperation between the two countries.

The fair focuses on major sectors including food and beverages, tourism and hospitality, smart agriculture, health and well-being, auto spare parts, luxury buildings as well as meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions.

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Image Credit: Source: Saudi Ministry of Commerce

In January 2022, Saudi Arabia and Thailand agreed to fully restore their diplomatic ties and to exchange ambassadors for the first time in around 32 years.

The move was agreed during a landmark official visit by the then Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to Riyadh where he met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Months later, Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council approved an agreement to employ Thai workers in the kingdom earlier reached between the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and the Thai Ministry of Labour. The pact was part of measures adopted by the two ministries to lay down a legal framework for Thais’ employment in Saudi Arabia.

The step also aimed to protect rights of workers and employers, regulate their contractual relation and devise follow-up and implementation mechanisms of the agreement.

In March 2022, the two ministries signed two agreements on employing Thai labour and domestic workers in Saudi Arabia as part of efforts to develop ties between the two countries. Also that month, Saudi Arabia lifted a ban on its citizens’ travel to Thailand.