KARACHI -  Thai-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce (TPCC) President Firdos Ali has underscored the need to initiate a strong liaison between the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and TPCC to assist the business communities of both countries in finding the right and reliable partners for business.

Talking to KCCI office bearers and Managing Committee members during his visit to the Karachi chamber, Firdos said that Thai businessmen have been facing immense hardship in identifying the right partners for business in Pakistan and the same must also be happening when Pakistani business community will also be looking forward to enhance trade with Thai business community.

“It has been observed in numerous cases that business deals remained unsuccessful and Thai businessmen were ‘robbed’ by some unscrupulous elements. Therefore, in order to effectively deal with this issue, close collaboration between TPCC and KCCI is a must”, he added.

The TPCC president stressed that KCCI should exchange information about reliable businessmen and the same will also be done by TPCC in response to KCCI’s inquiry about any Thai businessman, ensuring successful deals between business communities of the two countries, besides helping in building the confidence, reputation and the image of Pakistan.

Commenting on Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the TPCC president said that Thai business community anxiously awaiting signing of FTA between Pakistan and Thailand which was taking too long. He was fairly optimistic that the much-awaited FTA will be inked in the next four to five months which would prove beneficial for both sides.

He informed that TPCC was also a member of Joint Foreign Chamber of Commerce in Thailand (JFCCT) which comprises representatives from Chambers of Commerce around the world including UK, India, Sri Lanka, Canada and Japan etc. He advised KCCI to become member of JFCCT where business community representatives from some of the important markets gather under JFCCT umbrella to discuss matters of mutual interest.

Speaking on the occasion, the KCCI president assured that KCCI will look into the possibility of sharing information about credible businessmen and industrialists with TPCC in order to ensure prosperous businesses and growth in trade relations between the two countries.

He was of the opinion that this was the right time to invest in Pakistan, particularly Karachi, as the country is going to witness substantial economic growth in the next five to ten years due to unlimited opportunities emerging out of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

CPEC’s first phase comprising construction of roads and electricity supply will be completed by June 2018 which will be followed by construction of 9 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) - two in each province and one in Gilgit-Baltistan as well. Two of these SEZs will be established in Karachi where Thai business and industrial community can set up their business either exclusively or through joint ventures with their counterparts in Pakistan, he added.

Malik was of the opinion that great potential exists to enhance bilateral trade, investment and cooperation between Pakistan and Thailand. The signing of FTA would certainly yield good result by enhancing Pak-Thai trade volume from the existing $1 billion to $2 billion within the span of next five years.