ISLAMABAD - Ambassador of Thailand in Pakistan Suchart Liengsaengthong has said that free trade agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and Thailand would hopefully be finalised by the end of this year, saying that Pakistani businessmen should prepare themselves to take full benefit from this facility.

The Thai ambassador said that signing of free trade deal between the two countries would be a new milestone that would take Pak-Thai trade to higher levels. He said leadership of both countries wanted to double the existing volume of trade in few years and added that finalization of FTA would help in achieving this objective.

He stated this while addressing business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He was accompanied by Counsellor Ms Marisa Indramangla and Political and Economic Assistant Syed Hassan Iqbal.

The Ambassador further said that a 12-member Thai trade delegation would visit Pakistan in August this year to explore business matchmakings with Pakistani counterparts. The delegation would bring samples of Thai products to introduce them to Pakistani counterparts as ‘seeing was believing’. He said ICCI should also organise its delegation for Thailand as frequent interactions between businessmen of both countries were the best way to know each other, build confidence and explore areas of mutual cooperation in order to promote bilateral trade. He assured that Thai Embassy will fully cooperate to make visit of ICCI delegation to his country productive.  In his welcome address, Sheikh Pervez Ahmed, senior vice president, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that Pakistan and Thailand have great potential to increase bilateral trade if tariff and non-tariff barriers issues were addressed. He stressed that the proposed FTA should focus on lowering all tariff and non-tariff barriers to provide enhanced role to the entrepreneurs for boosting two-way trade between the two countries. He said Thailand has comparative advantage in electrical and electronic appliances, machinery & components, and automobiles/parts while Pakistan has comparative advantage in cotton yarn, woven textiles, readymade garments, leather products, surgical instruments and sports goods. Thus, both countries have good potential to complement each other by enhancing two-way trade.

Sheikh Pervez Ahmed emphasized that Pakistan and Thailand should focus on encouraging frequent exchange of trade delegations and organizing exhibitions on reciprocal basis that will help in improving trade up to the potential. He said both countries should develop strong connectivity by land, sea and air routes as Thailand was a gateway for Pakistan to reach South East Asian countries while Pakistan was a gateway for Thailand to get access to Central Asia, Middle East and West China.

 He assured that ICCI would consider taking its delegation to Thailand and would like to work closely with Thai Embassy to bring the two countries even closer on trade and economic fronts.