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Talks on EHP with Thailand in Feb

Dawn, Pakistan

Talks on EHP with Thailand in Feb

By Mubarak Zeb Khan

28 December 2005

ISLAMABAD, Dec 28: Pakistan and Thailand will hold second round of study group meeting in
February next to pave the way for initiation of talks on the early harvest programme
(EHP)leading to zero rate of duty.

Official sources told Dawn on Wednesday that the meeting of the study group was expected
to be held in the first week of February in Bangkok to discuss the modalities and
procedures of the framework agreement.

The first meeting of the study group was held in Islamabad on November 24, 2005. Both
sides had already nominated one person each for the study group. Thailand nominated an
academic whereas Pakistan nominated a government official in August-September.

The official said that Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz during his recent visit to Thailand
requested his counterpart for initiation of early negotiations on EHP to increase the
volume of bilateral trade between the two countries.

The study group, the official said, would deliberate on various issues including trade
regimes, tariff and non-tariff measures. The study group would also analyse and discuss
bilateral trade statistics and global trade trends, identify complementarities, with
special focus on agriculture, textiles, food preparations, fisheries, sports and surgical

The group would also discuss outline of the framework agreement to be concluded. In
future meetings, cooperation in the field of services and investments would also be

The official said that in the EHP Pakistan would seek immediate cut in duties on export
of vegetables, fruits, fisheries and horticulture products to Thailand.

The official ruled out the impression that Thailand has imposed a ban on import of fruits
and vegetables from Pakistan. However, he added that Pakistani fruits and vegetables
would have to meet the requirements of sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) measures
enforced by Thailand.

Among the fruits, he said that there was a greater demand for mangoes, melon, apple,
kinno and citrus etc in Thailand market. All these kinds of Pakistani fruits can easily
compete with those currently coming from various countries.

Pakistan export of fisheries products could also grab market in the Thailand because of
the huge consumption of seafood in that country, the official said adding that the local
fish production there was not sufficient to meet the domestic consumption.

The two countries could also exchange expertise in many areas including tourism sector.
Pakistan could provide better facilities to Thai visitors visiting historical places of
Buddhism in Taxila, Takhtbhai, Swat and Peshawar.

Pakistan would also have to take up the issue of visa with Thai authorities.
Interestingly, Thailand provide the facility of granting visas on arrival at airport to
the nationals of many countries even India but the same was denied to Pakistan.