MANAMA: Bilateral trade between Bahrain and Thailand generated around $435 million of business last year, up almost 90 per cent since 2009. That business can grow further, Industry Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro said yesterday as he welcomed Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to a Bahrain-Thailand Business Forum at the InterContinental Regency Bahrain.
Prime Minister Shinawatra is leading a major trade delegation to the kingdom to further boost trade.
"It is in the interest of both our countries, to work closely as partners for joint future prosperity," he said.
"Both countries are constitutional monarchies, with bi-cameral parliaments, and with legal systems based on civil law but with a common law influence, and importantly are characterised by a free-enterprise economy.
"We think alike, and our business outlook is similar.
"The global financial crisis has brought home to every country that there is a need to work more closely together on all fronts," Dr Fakhro said.
"Amongst friends much more can be achieved, and there is no doubt that Bahrain and Thailand are much more than trade partners, we are indeed good friends.
"Also, it has been true friends like Thailand that have stood with us during our troubled times in 2011, and was not swayed in its friendship," he added.
"Thailand has a rich experience in a number of areas in which we have a mutual interest, and particular in developing the small and medium enterprises sector in areas like IT, pharmaceuticals, aluminium, fibre glass, iron and steel, which are potential clusters for meaningful and value-added partnerships and we would like to explore the possibility of the exchange of experts or technical co-operation, in which we might work together in this area.
"Training in jewellery design is a case in point also," he added.
"Thailand not only shares a lot of interests with Bahrain but we also share a very strong friendship," said Prime Minister Shinawatra.
"We are working with our neighbours to improve our potential and we are working with Bahrain as well.
"Whenever Bahrain faces challenges we are there for you and we wish to continue to enhance our economic and business partnership with the kingdom."
"We have signed a number of memorandums of understanding in the past and this week we have signed a new MoU on agricultural co-operation," she added.