Thailand intends to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Pakistan to further promote bilateral trade and economic relations, Foreign Minister of Thailand Surapong Tovichakchaikul said in Islamabad on Thursday.
In a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister, Raja Pervez Asharf, he said Thailand is committed to further enhance the trade and bilateral relations with Pakistan, the volume of which is presently around US $1 billion.
Surapong Tovichakchaikul, also the Thai Deputy Prime Minister, informed Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf that he would be meeting prominent business leaders of Pakistan tonight to explore avenues of cooperation, a statement from the PM office said.
Later addressing a joint press conference with Pakistani Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, he said that a joint study has already been conducted for the feasibility of the free trade agreement between the two countries.
The two sides also discussed inauguration of Pakistan-Thailand Joint business forum to promote bilateral trade and investment.
Describing his talks with Pakistani counterpart as fruitful, the Thai foreign minister said that both sides are satisfied with the trade volume with Pakistan and want to further speed up this process in future.
“We want the Thai investors to invest in areas of infrastructure development, food processing, gem stones and auto parts development in Pakistan”.
He said joint economic commission will meet soon to formulate concrete measures for the enhancement of bilateral economic and trade relations.
He said both the countries have also agreed to enhance their security and defense cooperation. We have agreed to enhance cooperation to combat terrorism and other international crimes through increased intelligence sharing.
The Thai foreign minister said Thailand will soon host the third meeting on the security cooperation to discuss issues relating to terrorism and other crimes. Appreciating Pakistan’s constructive role in the region, he said we are ready to work closely with Pakistan for the benefit of the region.
He assured that his country will continue to extend support to Pakistan in the social sector development.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said on the occasion that both the countries enjoy excellent relations and trade volume has surpassed one billion dollars mark last year.
She said joint trade committee has been tasked to speed up work on the finalization of free trade agreement which will be mutually beneficial for the two countries.
She said both the countries are committed to institutionalize their relations and in this regard joint economic commission of the two countries will meet next month. The commission’s meeting will discuss ways and means to further augment bilateral relations in the areas of trade, defense and security.
She said both the countries are also close to signing two agreements. One relates to the exemption of diplomatic visa while the other will be signed between the foreign services academy of the two countries.
“There is a dire need to evolve a mechanism for promoting people to people contacts between Pakistan and Thailand. She said fifty six thousand people visited Thailand last year as tourists”.
She said Thailand is an important country of ASEAN. Pakistan attaches great importance to become full dialogue member of this organization.