Thailand ready to finalise FTA with Pakistan to improve trade ties: Envoy

ISLAMABAD-Chakkrid Krachaiwong, Ambassador of Thailand, has said that his country is ready to finalise a free trade agreement (FTA) with Pakistan as negotiations on it have reached the final stage and it is now up to Pakistan to expedite it.
He revealed that Thai Air is resuming its flights from Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad. He said that many Pakistanis visit Thailand and stressed that they should also play a role to increase bilateral trade between the two countries. He said that both countries should focus on promoting bilateral investment to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. He said that the Pakistani business community should display its products in Thailand Industrial Fair 2024 in January next year, which would help them to improve their business prospects. He said that many Thai investors want to invest in Pakistan, but they don’t know where to invest. He identified seafood, mangoes, the halal food and halal cosmetics as potential areas for two-way trade. He expressed these views during an interaction with the business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI).
Ms Kamolwan Siriposil, Thai Economic Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission, and Khemathat Archawathamrong, Thai Counsellor, also accompanied him on the occasion. Speaking on the occasion, Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said that ICCI would take up the issue of FTA with relevant Pakistani authorities for swift progress on it as it would help increase bilateral trade between Pakistan and Thailand. He said that Thailand’s annual exports in 2022 were over $285 billion and imports were around $300 billion, but its bilateral trade with Pakistan in 2022-23 was less than $1 billion. He said that both countries are doing trade in limited items and stressed that they should diversify trade to achieve better results. He said that Pakistan can export many other products to Thailand including value-added textiles, leather goods, sports items, pharmaceuticals, surgical instruments and food products. Similarly, Pakistan can import more products from Thailand.
Ahsan Bakhtawari said that the government has established a Special Investment Facilitation Council to facilitate new investments in defense, agriculture, minerals, IT & telecom, energy and other sectors and stressed that the Thai investors should take advantage of these opportunities in Pakistan. He said that tourism sector is another promising area of mutual cooperation as Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage and diverse landscapes offer great attractions to Thai tourists. He said that learning from Thailand’s successful tourism industry, Pakistan can also develop its tourism sector along modern lines. Aamir Hussain, Maqsood Tabish, Ch. Muhammad Ali, Malik Najeeb, Khalid Chaudhry, Fiazan Shehzad, Kashif Chaudhry, Ms. Parveen Khan, Ch. Tahir and others were also present on the occasion.

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