Home » Qatar, Thailand Keen On Forging New Agreements

Qatar, Thailand Keen On Forging New Agreements

News From : DagangHalal.com (06 Jul 2009)

Qatar and Thailand are keen to strike more deals on a number of economic and bilateral subjects, Thailand Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said yesterday.

He was speaking to reporters at La Cigale hotel after concluding a state visit to Qatar during which he held meetings with high Qatari authorities.

Qatar is Thailand’s second largest trading partner. Last year, the trade volume, especially in the oil and gas exports between the two countries, reached $3bn and at present it stands at approximately $2.8bn per year.

“During my meeting with the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs HE Ahmed Abdullah bin al-Mahmoud, we reviewed our existing bilateral relations and concluded on opening a number of other new agreements such as the one on taxation and investments protection,” he said.

The foreign minister explained that a draft of the two agreements have been drawn and a basic negotiation has gone underway while adding that his country is willing to co-operate with Qatar in other areas such as energy security, architecture and interior design.

“Our energy sector has signed a long-term contract with Qatar last year to secure the import of LNG to support our LNG terminal under construction which would become operational in 2011 and the first gas exploration is also expected the same year,” he disclosed.

The terminal, at the beginning, would start storing up to 1mn tonnes of LNG per year and would later increase its capacity to 2mn tonnes.

To a question on whether Qatar is sourcing farmlands in Thailand for agricultural production, Piromya said part of the conclusions of the first Asean-GCC foreign ministers meet held in Bahrain last week was to increase food supply to the region, with a particular emphasis on co-operation between Thailand and Qatar.

“Like I mentioned during the Bahrain meeting, there is no need for the GCC countries to out-source farmlands, all they need is an assurance from countries like Thailand, which is the biggest rice exporter in the world, of a sustainable food supply and we are prepared to satisfy their needs over the years to come,” the minister pointed out.

However, Piromya called on Qatari investors to seek opportunities in Thailand’s agro-industry as well as alternative energy industry.

“Qataris can invest in our halal food industry, especially in poultry and marine products, which are also key part of our economic mainstay. They can also delve into factories using agricultural produce to make ethanol and other renewable energy. We can further co-operate in infrastructure development, project market, interior design, skilled and professional labour supply, wellness such as spa and food industry as our aim is to become the hub of tourism and hospital services in the region,” he mentioned.

The official hinted that presently the Qatari Investment Authority is holding 20% in shares in Thailand’s property sector while some investors are already establishing contacts with the Islamic Bank of Thailand on floating bonds or sponsoring joint ventures.

Piromya said that as a follow-up to his visit a series of delegations from Thailand will visit Qatar to seek more co-operation and investment opportunities in property, energy and food sectors.

He hinted that the two countries are also willing to begin a cross-cultural exchange programme for the youth during which they can learn about each other’s culture, religion as well as traditional education.

“We have plans to also co-operate with Qatar in international political issues such as in human rights, humanitarian assistance and peace initiatives as very soon we will be deploying about 800 forces to Sudan as part of our peacekeeping efforts,” he said.

On the insurgency and civil unrest in southern Thailand, the foreign minister reassured that the situation is under control, saying that within the next three years, the country hopes to solve the wranglings.

“This is the first time in 10 years that political leaders are taking responsibilities toward establishing dialogue with the insurgents, before it used to be the military or army doing the negotiations and we have allocated an equivalent of QR2bn for social and economic development of the southern provinces,” he said.

Meanwhile, he reassured tourists of adequate security during their stay in the country adding that he has extended an invitation to HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani to visit the country soon.

By Noimot Olayiwola | Gulf Times
Link: http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=301399&version=1&template_id=36&parent_id=16

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