Friday, November 15, 2019
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New Thai envoy to focus on food, construction sectors

New Thai envoy to focus on food, construction sectors

Ailyn Agonia

THE newly-appointed Ambassador of Thailand to Qatar HE Soonthorn Chaiyindeepum expressed intentions of increasing the contribution of Thailand to the much-anticipated FIFA World Cup 2022 in Doha, particularly in the food and construction sectors.
Chaiyindeepum, who was posted as Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission of Thailand in New Delhi prior to his Doha appointment, arrived in the country in March and presented his Letter of Credence to HH the Emir on May 3.
In an interview with Qatar Tribune recently, the ambassador said that under his leadership the embassy will work towards capitalising on Thailand's strength as a major producer and exporter of food products including halal and healthy foods.
"Thailand has been well known for its 'Kitchen of the World' concept. As Qatar is gearing towards hosting the World Cup in 2022, we are ready to contribute to the success of this event by supplying halal and healthy foods for players, spectators and other visitors. After the game, this can be developed as part of the food security and distribution for Qatar. We are also the major producer of sports gears and other products. So, I will seek an opportunity to meet the organiser and concerned agencies to present our readiness to meet with those demands in 2022 and beyond.
"Apart from food items, we can also contribute our highly-skilled workforce for the construction of stadiums and infrastructure supporting the WC. In addition, we can offer other services and hospitality during the event, such as consultancy for a performance on the opening and closing matches," the Thai envoy stressed.
He also mentioned focusing on expanding trade and investment opportunity between Thailand and Qatar. The ambassador said,"As our bilateral relations are strong and we share many common interests on regional and global issues, there has never been any political rift between our two governments. The perception of Thailand and its culture by the Qatari public is also good. Thus, it allows the embassy to concentrate more on promoting economic engagements, tapping the potentials that both sides have in trade and investment.
"Last year, the trade volume between Thailand and Qatar stood at $3.35 billion. The value of imports from Qatar to Thailand was $3 billion. These are mostly natural gas and energy. Our exports to Qatar values only $350 million. These are mostly merchandise items such as air-condition units, electronic goods, automobile parts and components, and food products."
Chaiyindeepum also pointed out the 'excellent' Qatar-Thailand bilateral ties evident in a number of agreements signed between the two parties and some new agreements being explored, including the one on education cooperation.
"The agreement on education which we expect to be signed this year during the next high-level visit is an agreement between the Supreme Education Council in Qatar and the Ministry of Education in Thailand which is going to pave the way for more exchange of scholars, teachers and student. Eventually, this cooperation will lead to more understanding of the education system in both countries. It could encourage more Thai students to come to study in Qatar as well as having more Qatari scholars going to Thailand for some exchange programme, including academic research. Another agreement we are expecting to be signed this year is on the exemption of visa for diplomatic and official passport holder," he said.
At present, there have been eight agreements signed between the two governments in areas of cooperation in defence, civil aviation, technical cooperation and media cooperation. Both sides are also working on an agreement to protect and promote bilateral investment as well as on the avoidance of double taxations which will facilitate more investments in the two countries, he added.
Chaiyindeepum also mentioned a probable visit of Qatar's Prime Minister and Minister of Interior to Thailand and a high-level representation of Qatar to the Asia Cooperation Dialogue Summit in Thailand in October.