Boost for trade links

Abang Johari (centre), Sasitorn (fifth from left) and business leaders from Sarawak at the opening of the Thailand-Sarawak trade forum in Kuching.

KUCHING: Sarawak and Thailand can play an important role in promoting trade links between the sub-regions in Asean, says Thai ambassador to Malaysia Narong Sasitorn.

He said there was “a lot of potential” for business links between Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) and mainland South-East Asia.

“For this reason, the Thai government will support every effort to promote further close ties and contact between Thailand and Sarawak.

“It is certainly for our mutual benefit, ” he said at a Thailand-Sarawak trade forum and business matching session here.

Sasitorn also said Thailand saw Sarawak as a major player in Malaysia’s economy, with the state on track to achieve developed status by 2030.

“For Thailand to succeed in Malaysia, we have to come to Sarawak, In fact, our top busines players are already here.

“Recently, PTTEP, our national oil company has come to Sarawak in a big way, taking over assets of Murphy’s Oil as well as investing in some exploration blocks here, ” he said.

He added that Thailand and Sarawak could explore areas of cooperation in agriculture, automotive parts, petrochemical products, tourism, education and digital economy.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg agreed that agriculture and oil and gas were among potential areas for collaboration between Sarawak and Thailand.

“Thailand has experience and technology in food production and digital agriculture.

“In oil and gas, a Thai company has become one of the biggest oil and gas companies operating in Sarawak today, ” he said.

Abang Johari also said there were opportunities for collaboration beyond Sarawak in BIMP-EAGA.

“The BIMP-EAGA area is rich in resources, just like Sarawak. What we need now is technology as well as research and development to be undertaken in order to add value to our comparative advantage in resources.

“With this collaboration, there is room for us to develop this sector and explore the market within BIMP-EAGA, ” he said.

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