Free Trade Agreement between Thailand, Pakistan likely to be concluded by 2016: Consul General

Karachi, February 26, 2016 (PPI-OT): Consul General of Thailand in Karachi, Suwat Kaew Sook has said that Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and Thailand was likely to be concluded by end of 2016 which would facilitate trade and help in furthering the existing trade ties between the two countries.

Exchanging views with KCCI Office Bearers and Managing Committee members during his visit to KCCI, Thai Consul General said that the business communities of Pakistan and Thailand will come more close to each other particularly after signing of the FTA. “We want to do business and cooperate with you as there is a lot of room for improving the existing trade volume which is now above US$1 billion”, he added.

President KCCI Younus Muhammad Bashir, Senior Vice President KCCI Zia Ahmed Khan, Vice President KCCI Muhammad Naeem Sharif, Chairman of Diplomatic Mission and Embassies Liaison Sub-Committee KCCI Muhammad Ibrahim Kasumbi, Trade Advisor of Thai Consulate Arif Suleman and KCCI Managing Committee members were also present at the meeting.

Thai Consul General said that Thailand and Pakistan can cooperate in various sectors of the economy particularly in the agriculture and tourism sectors. He invited the business community of Karachi to benefit from the strategic location of Thailand which can act as bridge to access Burma, Vietnam, Cambodia and many other countries in the region while the business community of Thailand can also benefit from Pakistan’s strategic location.

Extending full support and cooperation to the business and industrial community of Karachi, he assured to fully facilitate the businessmen and industrialists who were willing to visit Thailand. “If anyone has been issues in obtaining Thai visas or any other issue, the same must be promptly conveyed to us so that we could bring these issues to the notice of Thai government with a view to get them resolved”, he added.

Underscoring the need to promote tourism by encouraging maximum visits to both countries, he said that last year a total of 60,000 tourist visas were issued to Pakistanis. To a suggestions with regards to promoting Pakistan’s tourism sector in Thailand, he admitted that not much Thai tourists were visiting Pakistan but that does not mean that they were unaware of tourists’ sites in Pakistan. It was probably because of the negative perception about the security situation of Pakistan which has been widely dispersed by the western media and this issue needs to be addressed in order to attract Thai tourists.

He said that although the economy of Thailand witnessed a growth of 3 percent, which was low when compared with Pakistan, but as compared to previous years, the 3 percent growth indicates improvement and it is likely to improve further in future. Earlier President KCCI Younus Muhammad Bashir, in his welcome address, stated that Pakistan and Thailand maintain sound bilateral trade relations.

He said that there was great potential to enhance bilateral trade, investment and cooperation between the two countries. In this regard, the pre-feasibility studies have already been completed by both sides. Pak-Thai trade volume currently stands at around $1 billion which was aimed to be taken up to $2 billion in the next five years, he added and extended full support and cooperation on behalf of the entire business and industrial community of Karachi towards enhancing trade and building strong linkages with the business and industrial community of Thailand.

Younus Bashir was of the view that as Thailand possesses number of high value added industries like Agro-business, Food processing and automotive production, Pakistan can develop these industries together by arranging joint ventures in these fields. Moreover, there exists potential to collaborate in the field of trade, culture, infrastructure development, science and technology, defence, education and religious tourism, he added.

President KCCI said that KCCI wants to promote business, mutual understanding and friendly relations between the business communities of Pakistan and Thailand. “We also want to promote Thai investment in Pakistan and do everything for the development of Pakistan–Thailand business cooperation”, Younus Bashir said, while emphasizing the need to promote trade, commerce and economic cooperation between the two countries by organizing trade and investment delegations, exhibitions, seminars and meetings.

For more information, contact:
Aamir Hassan
Director Press/Electronic Media and Public Relations
Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI)
Aiwan-e-Tijarat Road, Off Shahrah-e-Liaquat,
Phone: +92-21-99218001-09
Fax: +92-21-99218040