The Embassy’s main priorities are to promote Norwegian economic and political interests in Thailand and Cambodia, as well as to give consular assistance to Norwegian citizens and provide service to foreigners who wish to visit or move to Norway. The relatively large number of Norwegians staying in Thailand at any given time (around 150 000 tourists annually, as well as a number Norwegians who reside in Thailand permanently or in parts of the year – probably somewhere between 5 000 and 10 000 people) generates an increasing number of consular cases, which takes up most of the Embassy’s overall capacity. The number of Thais travelling to Norway is also high, and the Embassy in Bangkok ranks among the top five Norwegian missions abroad in terms of the number of visas issued. Around 15 000 Thais are currently living in Norway, and they constitute our 12th largest nationality group.
Bilateral relations between Norway and Thailand are solid and long-standing. Siam was one of the first countries to recognize Norway as an independent state in 1905, and diplomatic relations were established in the same year. We maintain a regular political dialogue on topics of mutual interest, both bilaterally and in relevant multilateral fora. After the tsunami in 2004, the bonds between Norwegians and Thais became even stronger.
Currently, around 50 Norwegian companies are established in Thailand, in a large variety of different industry sectors. The Norwegian trade promotion agency, Innovation Norway, is present with an office in Bangkok. There is also an active Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce working to promote business cooperation between our countries. The largest Norwegian company in Thailand is the telecommunications company Telenor, which has made large investments in Thailand through its ownership in DTAC. The Norwegian fertilizer company Yara has an important presence by offering fertilizers that benefits Thailand’s agriculture sector. The Norwegian paint company Jotun established a subsidiary in Thailand in 1968 and has around 300 employees today, with factories in Samut Prakarn and Chonburi. Norske Skog owns Pan Asia Paper, the only newspaper mill in Thailand. Norske Skog has been established in Thailand for 17 years and has 236 employees at its Bangkok office.
Trade in goods is increasing between our countries. In 2012, Norway imported goods worth 586 million US dollars (3,3 bill. NOK) from Thailand. The imports were mainly iron, steel and machinery. Norway exported goods worth 307 million US dollars (1,8 bill. NOK). The exports were mainly fertilizers, seafood and machinery. The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global, which is among the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world, is also investing in Thailand. Norway supports some developments projects implemented by regional organizations and UN agencies based in Bangkok.