By CHRIS V PANGANIBAN
DOHA: Thailand is keen on reaching bilateral agreements with Qatar on various economic investments from agriculture particularly on food, oil and gas and tourism sectors, visiting Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya (pictured) said yesterday.
Piromya, who was here on official visit, said that the basic negotiation between the two countries is almost finalised.
The agreements mainly avoidance of double taxation and investment protection to give more confidence to the business sector. “These are the two major agreements that have to be concluded,” Piromya said.
Piromya said his country was focusing more on Halal products and the increasingly popular Thailand rice and the tourism industry including medical services to tourists.
“We’d like to become the centre in the Asia-Pacific region in the tourism industry including hospital services,” the minister, who is also the chair of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) said.
He said Thailand and other ASEAN neighbours, as a group, can assure they have enough supply of food produce such as rice and Halal products. He added that food security has been discussed in the joint ministerial meeting between GCC-ASEAN in Bahrain last week.
“We can guarantee to the Qatari consumers, if they want quarter of a million, half a billion or even a billion tonnes of rice per year, we will not have a difficulty to supply that in the years to come,” Piromya said.Piromya said his country also needs energy security and they are keen on buying more oil and gas from Qatar by 2011. He said Thailand has been sourcing 25 percent of their oil needs from Oman. According to the minister, officials from the Petroleum Authority in Thailand were in Qatar to look into possibility of exploring investments in oil and gas.