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Thai team due in Bahrain

Delegation to attend business centre handing over ceremony
A 24-member high-level Thai delegation, headed by Thailand’s Trade Representative Sompong Amornwiwat and Mrs Srirat Rattapana, adviser to the Thai Prime Minister, will attend the handing over ceremony of Thai Business Centre (TBC) in Bahrain, Thai Ambassador to Bahrain Widhya Bhoolsuwan has said.
The delegation will arrive on three-day visit to the Kingdom on the second leg of the visit from Saudi Arabia on May 23.
The Ambassador of Thailand told Bahrain Tribune that the delegation would also hold talks with public and private sectors in Bahrain to explore ways and means to further strengthen relations between the two countries.
The delegation, which will be in Bahrain on May 23-25, will include high-level private sector delegates of Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), led by its Chairman Praphad Phodhivorakhun in addition to representatives from the Board of Investment of Thailand.
“The completion of TBC project is a major step forward. It will give a new dimension to the business ties between the two sides,” the ambassador said.
“After the opening of TBC project, members of the delegation will hold meetings with their counterparts including representatives of Promoseven Holdings, the organisation that developed TBC ,” he said.
Bhoolsuwan said that TBC would help Thai companies, businesses and investors to exhibit their products and services not only for Bahraini market but also for the entire Gulf region.
“Two-way trade between Thailand and the GCC states is worth $2.3 billion annually and TBC will help to explore ways and means to enhance the two-way trade, investment and commercial ties.
“The bilateral trade volume surged to $146 million at the end of 2004, constituting $54 million Thai exports and $92 million Bahraini exports with $38 million trade balance in favour of Bahrain.
“BTC will serve as an information centre for Bahraini business people, providing market insight and guidance regarding import and export regulations of Thailand.
“I am very happy that one of the dream projects is ready for operation, aimed at bolstering ties between the two sides. The free trade agreement (FTA) between Bahrain and Thailand will play the role of catalyst in boosting trade, commerce and investments ties. Under the FTA, Bahrain and Thailand will reduce customs duties on 626 items from 3 to 0 per cent in five to six years’ time, offering numerous growth opportunities to both the sides,” the ambassador said.
Talking about Bahrain business delegation visiting Thailand from May 16-22, he said that the embassy was expecting 10-15 Bahrain business people to join the delegation.
“At the moment, we have six confirmed participants and given the size and importance of THAIFEX and HALFEX exhibitions, the visit is very important. The events will provide a rare opportunity for the Bahraini delegation to explore business and trade ties with their prospective Thai counterparts in halal food and food processing sectors. The participants will not only be exposed to food manufacturer and exporters from Thailand, but also the world over, as the exhibition will have about 1,700 booths of 780 companies from around the world, solely dedicated to the food industry.
“Thai embassy will also arrange meetings with public and private sectors in the Thai food export industry to create networking, and to give the delegation an opportunity to see the results of Thai policies regarding halal food exports.
“The exhibition will provide a channel to explore business opportunities in the two countries. It will also encourage Thai business people to expand their business activities with Bahraini enterprises in Bahrain and vice versa,” he added.
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Thai PM has audience with King of Bahrain

BANGKOK, May 14 -- Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Sunday was granted an audience with HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain at the Al Rowdah Palace in a visit intended to strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries.

The prime minister was accompanied by Cabinet members including Minister of Foreign Affairs Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Minister of Industry Pongsvas Svasti, Minister of Commerce Boonsong Teriyapirom, and Minister of Public Health Wittaya Buranasiri, as well as some private sector representatives, arrived at Bahrain’s Manama International Airport on Sunday.

Receiving the Thai PM was Prince Kalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain. The Bahraini premier accompanied Ms Yingluck in an official motorcade to the Ritz Carlton Hotel, the official accommodation prepared by the Bahraini government.

In the evening, Ms Yingluck was granted an audience with HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain at the Al Rowdah Palace.

Ms Yingluck informed the King of Bahrain regarding aspects of the close relationship between the two countries, saying that the Thai government is supportive of the government and people of Bahrain.

Furthermore, Thailand supports the process of national reconciliation and believes that Bahrain has embarked on the right path.

In 2011, there were demonstrations seeking economic and political reforms in Bahrain. When the situation returned to normal, the government of Bahrain tried to build peace in its society through national dialogue and a fact finding commission to investigate the incidents to bring about reconciliation.

Regarding bilateral and multilateral cooperation, the Thai and Bahraini prime ministers were to discuss strengthening the economic and business partnership of the two countries. The two sides will also seek regional cooperation opportunities as Thailand will be a part of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, while the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) and the ASEAN- Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are set to expand their scope of cooperation.

Bahrain is considered the closest friend of Thailand in the Middle East and it has played the role of bridge builder, connecting Thailand to the Middle East. (MCOT online news)

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Thailand, Bahrain sign MoUs to boost ties, trade

BAHRAIN, May 14 - Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday held bilateral talks with her Bahraini counterpart and witnessed the signing of three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to boost trade and investment between the two countries.

The Thai premier is now on a three-day official visit to the Gulf country (May 13-15) and was accompanied by Cabinet members including Minister of Foreign Affairs Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Minister of Industry Pongsvas Svasti, Minister of Commerce Boonsong Teriyapirom, and Minister of Public Health Wittaya Buranasiri, as well as some private sector representatives.

On the second day of the trip, Ms Yingluck attended an official welcoming ceremony hosted by the Bahraini government and held talks with Prince Kalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain.

In this occasion, the Thai premier thanked the Bahraini government, which as a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has supported Thailand's approach in resolving the violence in the Deep South.

A high level representative delegation of the OIC led by Ambassador Sayed Kassem El-Masry, a top advisor to the OIC chief, last week visited Thailand’s southernmost province of Yala and was briefed by the Thai authorities on Thailand’s responses to the violence in the region.

He said he will report on the situation to OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu as he believes violence in the southernmost provinces was not related to religious differences but a normal problem for a country with minority population.

Both leaders also discussed over the construction projects, particularly the expansion of Bahrain's international airport, as Thai private sectors would like to play a role in the Gulf state's property industry development.

The food security has also been raised during the talk as both countries agreed to accelerate the agreement and framework on trade, investment, as well as research and development on agriculture and halal food.

Regarding the cooperation on medical tourism, Thailand has approved the extension of stay in the kingdom for Bahraini to the maximum 30 days without a previously issued visa.

After the discussion, the visiting Thai prime minister and Prince Kalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa witnessed the signing of three MoUs on cooperation on tourism, culture and food security, trade and investment on agricultural products.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Surapong said that the prime minister of Bahrain has reaffirmed to Ms Yingluck that Bahrain considered Thailand as the first choice of trade and investment partner and that his government is confident on the Thai government.

Ms Yingluck arrived in Bahrain on Sunday and was granted an audience with HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain at the Al Rowdah Palace.

Bahrain is considered the closest friend of Thailand in the Middle East and it has played the role of bridge builder, connecting Thailand to the Middle East. (MCOT online news)

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Meeting with Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain – Both sides expressed satisfaction towards the close and cordial relations enjoyed by one another. In this regard, Thailand is pleased to receive the Foreign Minister of Bahrain on the occasion of the latter’s visit to Thailand to attend the 2nd High Joint Commission (HJC) in Chiang Mai from 25-26 October 2012 with a view to strengthening relations in all fields, be they food security, the promotion of medical tourism, the exchange of experience between Islamic Banks of the two countries, alternative energy and construction. The Thai private sector has shown interest in Bahrain’s real-estate development project for low-income earners. In addition, both sides also discussed cooperation in the context of ASEAN-Gulf Cooperation Council (ASEAN-GCC), whereby Bahrain showed readiness to host the ASEAN-GCC Summit at the earliest opportunity.,.html
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ACD Summit 2012

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Bahrain eyes Saha venture

Published: 28 Feb 2013

Bahrain is keen for a joint venture with the Saha Farm Group to set up factory in Thailand to export frozen chicken to the Middle East, says Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom.

He made the remark after a discussion yesterday with Hassan bin Abdullah Fakhro, the Bahraini industry and commerce minister, who led a business mission here to network with Thai businesses.

Jesse Liu, an executive vice-president of the Saha Farm Group, said the company is ready to discuss a possible joint venture with Bahraini partners in more detail.

Saha Farm itself has shipped frozen and cooked poultry products to the Middle East through Malaysian trade partners for more than 45 years.

Mr Boonsong said Bahraini authorities proposed Thailand invest in setting up a distribution centre and warehousing facilities in Bahrain for re-export to Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

He added that Bahrain wants to forge joint ventures with Thai partners in the healthcare, tourism and Thai rice importation sectors.

Last year Bahrain imported 4,600 tonnes of Thai rice _ 2,950 tonnes of Hom Mali and 1,650 tonnes of white rice.
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Thailand, Bahrain agree to set up distribution centre in Gulf state

The Nation April 20, 2013 1:00 am

Thailand and Bahrain yesterday agreed to establish a distribution centre in the Gulf nation to boost Thai trade with Middle East markets and support food security of Arab countries.

The agreement was part of joint efforts to promote trade and investment between Thailand and Bahrain during an official visit this week by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, leading a delegation of businesspeople from his country.

The two countries agreed in principle that they would allow private enterprises to operate the distribution centre. Bahrain will initially invest about US$40 million (Bt1.15 billion), while Thailand is considering how much it will contribute.

Choomchet Arif of the Thai-Bahraini Chamber of Commerce said Bahrain had great potential to serve as a springboard for Thai export to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other countries in the Middle East.

"Although the Bahraini market is not as big as Dubai, Bahrain is new and has less competition. Thai exporters and investors should explore and penetrate this market more, since it has high opportunity to serve as a gateway to bigger markets in the Middle East," he said. Choomchet said Bahrain had strong demand for Thai goods and investment. Setting up a distribution centre in the country would increase the warehousing capacity for Thai goods for export to other Arab markets.

Bahrain is a free port and also allows 100-per-cent foreign ownership.

Potential businesses for Thais are spas, hotels, medical and healthcare, jewellery, construction, foods, farming, and poultry export.

Finance Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong said that after the slowdown in Thai shipments to traditional markets, penetrating other potential markets including Bahrain and elsewhere in the Middle East that have high spending power would ensure strong export growth.

He said two-way trade between Thailand and Bahrain had strong potential to increase in the coming years, thanks to the closer relationship between the Thai and Bahraini governments and their private sectors.

Last year, bilateral trade jumped significantly to more than $400 million.

Hassan Abdulla Fakhro, Bahrain's minister of industry and commerce, said his country wanted to forge closer cooperation with Thailand in trade and investment as it foresaw it as a good economic partner and gateway to other Asean countries.

"Thailand has a potential to serve food security. The strengthening cooperation in foods and other sectors would engage more trade and investment between both sides," he said.

Olarn Chaipravat, president of Thailand Trade Representative, said Bahrain would invest more in Thailand in the long run after setting up the distribution centre.

He urged Thai investors to invest more in Bahrain as that country could be a gateway to other Middle East countries and Africa.

According to International Trade Promotion Department data, trade between Thailand and Bahrain was worth $429 million last year, up by 44 per cent from 2011. Thai exports to Bahrain rose by 16 per cent to $163 million, while imports surged 70 per cent to $266 million.

Payungsak Chartsutipol, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said Thai enterprises had strong interest in investing more in Bahrain. The setting up of a distribution centre should help reduce obstructions to trade and facilitate more export from Thailand to the Middle East.
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