H.E. Mr. Suchart Liengsaengthong, Ambassador of Thailand said that Pakistan and Thailand have been negotiating Free Trade Agreement for the last one year and hopefully the FTA would be finalized within next 6 months. He said that FTA would bring down tariffs and remove other hurdles to facilitate better growth of bilateral trade between the two countries. He visited ICCI along with a delegation of Thailand that represented electrical home appliances, hotel industry, food products, cosmetics and other sectors.
The Thai envoy appreciated the efforts of government and armed forces for curbing the menace of terrorism in Pakistan due to which business activities were improving. He said ICCI should also organize a delegation for Thailand as frequent interactions between businessmen of both countries were the way forward to know each other, build relations and explore areas of mutual cooperation.
The leader of Thai delegation Mr. Wasun said that Western media has created a misperceptions about Pakistan due to which many Thai entrepreneurs were hesitating to visit Pakistan. However, he said after visiting Pakistan, they have found that conditions were much better here for business activities. He said labor cost in Thailand was rising due to which Thai investors were looking to outside world. He said the purpose of Thai delegation’s visit to Pakistan was to explore possibilities of JVs and investment.
In his welcome address, Khalid Malik, Senior Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that Pakistan and Thailand have good potential to increase bilateral trade if tariff and non-tariff barriers were addressed. He said both countries could complement each other as Thailand has comparative advantage in electrical & 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.
He emphasized that Pakistan and Thailand should encourage frequent exchange of trade delegations and develop strong connectivity between private sectors to take full advantage of bilateral advantages. He said Thailand was a gateway for Pakistan to reach ASEAN region while Pakistan was a gateway for Thailand to get access to Central Asia, Middle East and West China and close cooperation would be beneficial for both countries.