ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Thailand to Pakistan Chakkrid Krachaiwong on Tuesday announced that the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and Thailand to increase market access is expected to be finalised by the end of this year.
He was speaking at the Pakistan ASEAN Business Forum, organised by United Business Group (UBG) of Federation Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) here.
The idea for an FTA in both countries was initially floated in 2013, during bilateral talks on trade between the two countries; the Thai ambassador said.
Krachaiwong said the first round of FTA talks between the two countries was followed in September 2015, however, the process of dialogue between had slowed down due to the pandemic.
“Now, the 10th round of FTA between Pakistan and Thailand would start next month in which big progress is expected,” he said.
He informed that Pakistan and Thailand were in a process of finalising offer lists on 200 priority items under the proposed agreement.
While talking to APP, a senior official of the Ministry of Commerce said Thailand and Pakistan had held nine rounds of talks that had concluded 12 chapters of the agreement’s 13 chapters in total.
He said the remaining issues pending negotiations included customs protocol, trade facilitation, as well as related regulations regarding market access, he informed.
He said Pakistan had liberalised investment in most industries, especially food processing, logistics, textiles, automobiles, Information Technology (IT), construction, tourism and hotels, adding that the country was an interesting and large market with a population of more than 220 million, the world’s fifth largest, including 30 million adults with a high level of purchasing power.
He further added that Pakistan has an abundance of natural resources such as copper, coal, gold and fishery resources such as shrimp, crab, fish and shellfish, which are raw materials for the seafood processing industries.
According to data issued by the United Nations (UN), COMTRADE database on international trade Pakistan exports to Thailand totalled $141.53 million while imports from Thailand stood at $896.05 million during 2020.