Thailand-UAE Economic Relations: A Brief Overview of Bilateral trade, investment, and cooperation in various sectors.
Thailand and the UAE share a mutually beneficial economic relationship that continues to grow and diversify. Bilateral trade, investment, and cooperation in various sectors have contributed to the development and prosperity of both nations.
Looking ahead, the two countries should continue to foster strong ties by addressing challenges and exploring new avenues of collaboration, which will undoubtedly lead to even greater economic gains for both parties.
Thailand generally sees Dubai and the UAE as a new and healthy market. As an alternative to North America and Europe, the Middle East represents a new, untouched market, with potential for investment.
The UAE is especially an attractive destination given the ease of doing business in the country, ranking 16th globally, and general traits of trade facilitation, economic free zones, and transparency, which makes it a viable location as opposed to other countries in the region.
With the increasing popularity of investment into Saudi Arabica recently, the UAE is reiterated as a hub pre-empting further expansion within the region. Recently, the two countries look to begin CEPA negotiations, which will enable greater non-oil trade projected in the future, (already increase 21% in 2022).
A niche market that perhaps will see improvement in the future is the medical tourism industry.
Accounting for 53% of tourism in 2014, medical and wellness treatments is highly popular in Thailand, and is especially prevalent in support from the Middle East.
In the established foodstuffs sector, Thailand is the 12th largest exporter of Halal products, and so can find ease in accessing this region’s market (More info here: (https://www.thailand-business-news.com/business/99029-thailands-economic-revival-and-investment-opportunities ).
|Export (Thai to UAE)||Percentage increase (’21-’22)|
|Air conditioner parts||59%|
|Export (UAE to Thai)||Percentage increase (’21-’22)|
As reported byb the Thailand Trade Office in the UAE, the Thai exporters in the UAE are mainly producers of: Canned Foods, Dehydrated fruits, Soya Drinks, Jewelry (gold and silver), Takewood Forniture, Hospitality Products, Automotive Spare Parts, Rubber Parts, Oil shock Absorber, House Lock and Fitting.
Below are translations from the Thai Department of Trade Negotiation Report: (Thai to English) – highlights the Thai perception of investment into the UAE
“A market of high purchasing power”
“High ability for future of investment”
“UAE has good relations with the West and neighbouring countries…situating businesses there as a platform for trade with Africa and rest of the world”
“Dubai as a shipping, tourism, and banking hub”
Read more on Kelmer Group’s blog: Singapore’s Economic Outlook: Navigating Challenges and Embracing Opportunities
Potential issues of trade:
- Thai people are still wary of the cultural differences and business practices within the UAE, while local Emiratis are also difficult to do business with as they look to prioritise locals first
- Perception of Thai products is still deemed of low standard within the country and so makes it difficult to price luxury goods, and tap into the higher-value market. In general, Thai products are still relatively unknown within the UAE, and so limits success of smaller businesses that are just establishing themselves outside the native country.
- General issues on amount of administration and regulation within the UAE