UAE-Thailand Cepa to bolster bilateral ties, trade to another level, says ambassador

Thai ambassador noted that completion of the agreement and strong participation in the upcoming COP28 are his top priorities in the coming months

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Ashwani Kumar

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Sorayut Chasombat, Ambassador of Thailand to the UAE
Sorayut Chasombat, Ambassador of Thailand to the UAE

Published: Wed 27 Sep 2023, 9:17 PM

The UAE-Thailand Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) will add $300 million to the Thai GDP, a top envoy said in Abu Dhabi as yet another negotiation round is underway in Bangkok this week.

Sorayut Chasombat, Ambassador of Thailand to the UAE, noted that completion of CEPA and strong participation in the upcoming COP28 are his top priorities in the coming months.

"We want to be a strong partner of the UAE in this region. We recognise the UAE's role in this part of the world in promoting peace, stability, and prosperity within the region," Chasombat said during a media briefing at the Royal Thai Embassy.

Chasombat arrived in the UAE in December 2022 and presented his credentials to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in February. The negotiations to establish a CEPA free trade deal commenced in May.

Chasombat noted that another round of negotiations is underway in Bangkok and will conclude on Thursday. "We hope to hear the good news," said Chasombat, who is also the chairman of the ASEAN Committee in Abu Dhabi (ACAD) – a body of representatives of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states in the UAE.

"We would be the third country in ASEAN to ink the agreement with the UAE. Trade with the UAE is very important to us."

Last year, the UAE was Thailand's largest trading partner in the Arab world and ranked 13th globally. In 2022, bilateral trade amounted to $20 billion. Non-oil trade between the two countries reached $6.1 billion, up 21 per cent from 2021.

Chasombat pointed out that the implementation of CEPA will bolster bilateral relations to another level.

"With the completion of CEPA, it will add at least $300 million to the Thai GDP. It will add at least $250 million to the bilateral trade between the two countries."

Strong presence at COP28

Thailand ranks first in Southeast Asia for progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The country plans to become carbon neutral by 2050 and achieve the net-zero emission target by 2065. It is also promoting the concept of a bio-circular-green economy.

The ambassador assured a vibrant participation during the much anticipated UN climate conference to be held in Dubai.

"Thailand is well-known for sustainable development. We plan to have strong participation at the upcoming COP28, next year's World Government Summit, and the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference. We would give our utmost support to the UAE."

100 visa applications a day

Chasombat highlighted that the tourism sector is again booming in Thailand and receiving a record number of visitors from the UAE.

"Tourism is the main booster to Thailand's economy. The UAE has been one of our biggest markets. Now, the UAE is number two (after Saudi Arabia) among those who visit Thailand."

Missions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai receive anywhere between 80 to 100 visa applications a day from expats wanting to explore Thailand.

In his message to the Thai community, Chasombat urged them to keep working hard.

"I regularly host activities for the Thai community. The majority of them are working in the food and restaurant business, wellness, hospitality, Muay Thai coaches and trainers, and aviation as pilots and flight attendants."

Every Sunday, the embassy holds classes for children to learn Thai and Arabic languages. "This will help children born here to remain connected to their roots."

The embassy will also be hosting a Thai festival early next year.

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