Thailand and Pakistan may sign Free Trade Agreement this year

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Thailand and Pakistan are in the midst of talks on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which is expected to be signed by the end of this year.

Thailand’s Ambassador Suchart Liengsaengthong disclosed this at a meeting with Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Vice President Nasir Saeed at the chamber on Monday.

The ambassador said trade would flourish after signing of the FTA between the two countries. He said that such tools were important in today’s world because they would bring down the cost of doing business and remove non-tariff barriers. He noted that the SouthEast Asian nation is already investing in Pakistan and more Thai companies are keen to start their operations in the Asian country.

He said that a high level business delegation from Thailand would visit Pakistan in the first week of August. The delegation would have people from cosmetics, construction, automobile, plastic, consumer goods, furniture, seafood and private hospitals in its fold. He invited the LCCI to take a trade delegation to Thailand to explore trade, investment and joint venture opportunities there. He said that textile and tourism sectors of Pakistan were vibrant and that Pakistan could learn a lot from Thailand in the tourism sector.

The two countries established diplomatic ties back in 1951 and both countries enjoyed steady economic and trade relations. Although Pakistan faces unfavourable balance of trade with Thailand, consistent rise in bilateral trade is considered a positive sign. Thailand is 34th among the top exporting countries for Pakistan, while it ranks 12th among the top importing countries.

From 2013 to 2015 the bilateral trade increased from $833 million to$ 973 million. This expansion was largely caused by a considerable change in imports, which swelled from $716 million to $853 million. However, Pakistan’s exports could only scale up from $117 million to $120 million in this period.

SOURCE: Dailytimes.

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