Maldives, Thailand mull direct import-export

Thailand's Minister of Commerce Apiradi Tantraporn welcomed at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) upon her arrival for the second Maldives-Thailand Joint Trade Committee meeting. PHOTO/ECONOMIC MINISTRY

Thailand’s Minister of Commerce Apiradi Tantraporn welcomed at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) upon her arrival for the second Maldives-Thailand Joint Trade Committee meeting. PHOTO/ECONOMIC MINISTRY

The Maldives and Thailand discussed the prospect of directly exporting food products from Thailand to the island nation on Wednesday.

The discussion took place during an unofficial meeting between the Maldives’ economic minister Mohamed Saeed and Thailand’s Minister of Commerce Apiradi Tantraporn.

Minister Tantraporn, who had arrived in the Maldives on Wednesday afternoon to attend the Maldives-Thailand Joint Trade Committee meeting, had departed suddenly back to Thailand that night following the news of Thailand monarch’s ill health. Consequently, the official discussion between the two ministers scheduled to be held Thursday was cancelled.

Speaking at the press conference held at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) prior to Tantraporn’s flight, economic minister Mohamed Saeed stated that the two nations aim to establish direct communications between Maldivian traders and food producers in Thailand to facilitate direct importation of food from the latter to the island nation. Currently, food products from Thailand are exported to the Maldives via brokers.

“The Thai government also recognises this,” said the minister, adding that direct importation would be a great ease for all.

Thailand’s commerce minister noted that there are several industries through which the two nations can strengthen their bilateral trade relations, including food and fish products and the tourism sector.

Minister Tantraporn also declared the Maldives an ideal destination for investment.

Despite the cancellation of the two ministers’ official meeting, other segments of the joint trade committee meeting will proceed as scheduled. Accordingly, the top officials of Thailand’s largest 30 export companies that arrived with their commerce minister have remained in the Maldives. The display of the companies’ products to be showcased at Dharubaaruge convention centre in capital Male on Thursday is also going ahead as planned from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. This fair offers the chance for local businessmen to personally meet with the Thai company officials.

The Maldives has upped efforts to strengthen bilateral trade relations with Thailand following President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s official visit to Thailand in January this year. The economic ministry had also met with Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce and the nation’s businessmen in January.

Thailand exports several commodities to the island nation such as garments, while the Maldives exports a hefty fraction of its fish products to Thailand. Maldives Customs Service’s statistics show that the Maldives had exported goods worth MVR 47 million to Thailand last August alone.

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