BOI opens Riyadh office on July 14 to push closer Thai-Saudi trade ties


Thailand's Board of Investment (BOI) is opening its first branch in Saudi Arabia this week, demonstrating the agency's readiness to facilitate expansion of investment and business between the two countries, according to a BOI statement issued on Wednesday.

The new office is located in Saudi capital Riyadh and is scheduled to open on July 14.

The BOI has invited Foreign Minister Maris Sangiampongsa and over 70 dignitaries from the public and private sectors for the opening of the BOI's 17th overseas office. 

In addition to attending the ceremony, BOI secretary-general Narit Therdsteerasukdi said that the group would participate in the "Thai - Saudi Investment Forum" and business-matching negotiations.

"The trip will include executives from government agencies, financial institutions, the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Thai Industries, and top Thai companies. More than 10 memorandums of understanding (MOUs) between Thailand and Saudi Arabia are expected to be signed aimed at strengthening the cooperation agreements," he said. 

As the BOI's first Office of Overseas Investment Economics in the Middle East, Narit said that the office would be responsible for both attracting investment in target industries into Thailand and supporting and facilitating Thai entrepreneurs interested in investing in the Middle East.

"The opening of the BOI office in Saudi Arabia this time would help build cooperation and drive investment between them to have more concrete results," Narit said.

Ties between Thailand and Saudi Arabia have been developing rapidly after the restoration of diplomatic relations in 2022. Since then, the two governments have organised more than 10 bilateral visits and accelerated cooperation through various committee mechanisms to seek trade and investment opportunities, resulting in increased investment interest between the two countries. 

The move also coincided with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), one of the world's most invested national wealth funds, announcing plans to accelerate investment in various countries in accordance with Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to modernise the country and diversify its economy.  

Southeast Asia and Thailand are among the fund's target regions. 

Currently, the PIF has shown a special interest in Thailand's target industries, including digital and advanced innovation businesses, health tourism, healthcare, agriculture and processed foods, renewable energy, modern automobiles, and others.

"Thailand and Saudi Arabia have the potential to serve as twin hubs for each other. Saudi Arabia may consider using Thailand as an investment base to expand its business into the ASEAN region and capitalise on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, the world's largest free trade area. Likewise, Thai businesses can benefit from collaboration with Saudi Arabia, the Middle East's economic centre, to expand their market to the entire Middle East region, which has a population of over 400 million people and high purchasing power," he added.