Thailand wants early FTA with Pakistan: Thai Minister

Associated Press of Pakistan

Thailand wants early FTA with Pakistan: Thai Minister

25 July 2011

LAHORE (APP)- Thai government is focusing on an early meeting of Pak-Thai Joint Trade Commission for early signing of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries. Thai Minister, Department of South Asian, Middle East and African Affairs, Mr Nat Pinyo WattanaCheep said this during a meeting with businessmen at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday.

Thai Ambassador to Pakistan, Marut Jitpatima, LCCI Acting President Sheikh Mohammad Arshad, Vice President Sohail Azhar, former Chamber’s SVP Abdul Basit, Executive Committee Members Mian Zahid Javaid and Dr Shahid Raza also spoke on the occasion.

WattanaCheep said, Pakistan and Thailand have very strong credentials to give new strength to their respective economies as both the countries have good geographical locations making them a safe heaven for investment.
The two-trade volume is much below their respective potential on various sectors of the economy and lack of dissemination of information could be one of the biggest reasons, he added.

He said the recent tragic incident in Norway was enough to make the point that terrorists have no religion, therefore, wrong perception about Pakistan being painted by the international media has nothing to do with ground realities.

On this occasion, Sheikh Arshad said the import and export profiles of Pak-Thai indicate that there is a potential to increase exports to each other countries.

“However, our average bilateral trade was around $ 682 million during 2007 to 2009, but in 2010, it touched the record figure of $ 953.3 million which is an encouraging sign,” he said and added the trade balance has been favouring Thailand, as Pakistani exports have yet to cross the $ 100 million mark, whereas, Pak imports from Thailand have gone as high as $ 872.4 million in year 2010.

In such scenario, the visit of Thai delegation to Pakistan is of great value.
He said Pakistan is gateway to the markets of Central Asian Republics and the Gulf, citing, any investment made in Pakistan would find markets in the entire region surrounding Pakistan.

Industrial parks development would be a good choice for Thai business tycoons as they would surely be supported by Pakistan government as well, he maintained.

He said that Thai investors, who are interested to weigh up the energy sector of Pakistan especially untapped potential of coal and renewable/alternate energy, would be facilitated all the way.
The LCCI is desirous of developing a close linkage among the business support organizations for ensuring continuity in mutual efforts of both the countries to increase their trade volume.

Other delegate, who gave their views on Pakistan and Thailand trade relations included Chairman Thai Chamber Committee on South Asian Affairs, Mingpant Chayavichitsilp, Suthiket Thatptak-kul from Thailand Board of Investment, Somyod Tangmeelrap from Federation of Thai Industries, Ms Nuttha Toonsuwan, Sorayos Kijparkorn, Ms Piyanut Tumnukasetchai, Ms Chotika Suwanwattana and Honrary Trade Advisor of Thai Ministry of Commerce Arif Suleman.

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