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Pakistan, Thailand ready for FTA talks

The News-International, Pakistan

Pakistan, Thailand ready for FTA talks

By Shahid Shah

13 August 2015

KARACHI: Pakistan and Thailand are preparing for a formal dialogue on free trade agreement (FTA) and in this regard a 19-member trade delegation headed by General Chatchai Sarikulya, Commerce Minister of the Royal Thai Government was visiting Pakistan.

On Wednesday the delegation visited Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Karachi office to prepare for talks on FTA and trade promotion.

TDAP Chief Executive SM Muneer along with Trade Development Authority of Pakistan Secretary Rabiya Javeri Agha and Ministry of Commerce Additional Secretary Roubina Ather welcomed the delegates and said it was a pleasure to exchange delegations for trade promotion and business to business interactions.

Thai commerce minister appreciated the opportunity to meet with the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan representatives, ministry of commerce, and the business community of Pakistan.

Emphasising the importance of free trade agreement, he said Thailand and Pakistan had developed a strong trade relationship so the free trade agreement negotiations could be declared.

This he said exemplifies the commitment by both governments to create a long lasting economic partnership.

“Besides bilateral trade, Thailand and Pakistan can also enhance trade and investment through regional trade agreements,” Sarikulya said.

TDAP CE Muneer stated Thailand was a very important trading partner of Pakistan and appreciated the launching of FTA.

He said that Thailand was Pakistan’s 39th largest export destination and 13th largest import source. “Our bilateral trade volume is growing with a modest rate of five percent per annum,” he said.

Thailand is the 22nd top importer of the world, having an import market of $227 billion, which is not only a huge market but a much open economy where tremendous potential is available for Pakistani products.

He urged the business community of both the countries to come forward for enhancing trade and investment relations.

The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan chief also expressed hope that the exchange of delegations would pave the way to even more vigorous economic exchanges between Pakistan and Thailand.

Khurram Dastagir Khan, federal minister of commerce, recently told journalists in Karachi that Pakistan was focusing on Central Asia and Far East Asia for enhancement of exports.

Pakistan is working on a free trade agreement 2 with China, he informed, and sought suggestions from businessmen for incorporation in the agreement.

He said following FTA with China, Pakistan’s exports had increased manifolds.

“FTAs with Turkey and Thailand are also underway,” he added.

Pakistan has already signed regional or bilateral trade agreements with several countries.

Pakistan has signed free trade agreements with Afghanistan, Malaysia, China, Sri Lanka, and preferential trade agreements with Iran, Mauritius, and Indonesia.