Bangkok Post | 18 February 2007
Talks propose to expand India FTA
The Commerce Ministry has opened talks with India to add 7,000 new products to the free trade agreement.
Chutima Bunyapraphasara, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, told an audience at a seminar that the move was intended to capitalise on Thailand’s success in making inroads into the Indian market since the free trade deal came into force four years ago.
Thailand’s export to India rose 17 per cent last year totalling US$1.8 billion, outpacing India’s shipments to Thailand which was valued at US$1.6 billion. With a growing affluent middle class, about 300 million of them, India represents a brilliant opportunity for Thai businesses, she added.
The Commerce Ministry has been in negotiation with the Indian counterpart in a bid to expand the list of goods covered by the free trade pact from currently 82 items. Up to 7,000 new products were proposed.
Ms Chutima said Indian trade officials have expressed concern about the rapid increase of exports from Thailand and might be reluctant to make further concessions. But Thailand would negotiate bilaterally as well as member of Asean, according to the senior commerce official, in order to
improve its position.
Popular export items include canned seafood, air-conditioners, jewelry and electrical goods. (TNA)