FTA with Pakistan likely to be finalised by end of 2021: Thai envoy

FTA with Pakistan likely to be finalised by end of 2021: Thai envoy

FTA with Pakistan likely to be finalised by end of 2021: Thai envoy
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ISLAMABAD: The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and Thailand is expected to be finalised by the end of the current year, a diplomat said.

The process of dialogue between the two countries has been slowing down during the Covid-19 pandemic period, Ambassador of Thailand to Pakistan Chakkrid Krachaiwong said.

The first idea for an FTA in both countries was floated in 2013 during the bilateral talks on trade between the two countries, the Thai ambassador told APP on the sidelines of the Pakistan Asean Business Forum, organised by the United Business Group (UBG) of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The first round of FTA talks between the two countries was followed in September 2015. Now, the 10th round of FTA between Pakistan and Thailand would start next month in which big progress is expected, he said.

Pakistan and Thailand were in a process of finalising offer lists on 200 priority items under a proposed bilateral free trade agreement, the ambassador said.

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The two countries were negotiating a free trade agreement to increase market access, he said.

Talking to APP, a senior official of the Ministry of Commerce said Thailand and Pakistan have held nine rounds of talks that had concluded 12 chapters of the agreement’s 13 chapters in total.

The remaining issues pending negotiations included Customs protocol, trade facilitation, as well as related regulations regarding market access, he said, adding that Pakistan has liberalised investment in most industries, especially food processing, logistics, textiles, automobiles, information technology, construction, tourism and hotels.

Pakistan 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 said.

It 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 the data issued by the United Nations, Comtrade database on international trade, Pakistan exports to Thailand was $141.53 million and Pakistan’s imports from Thailand stood at $896.05 million during 2020.

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