Govt plots more India 'mini-FTAs'

Govt plots more India 'mini-FTAs'

Taste of India: Indian ambassador to Thailand Suchitra Durai presents a bouquet of flowers to Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit who presides over the opening of the Second Edition of the North East India Festival in Thailand at the Centara Grand at CentralWorld yesterday. The two-day event celebrating 75 years of Thai-Indian diplomatic relations, features cultural shows with handicrafts, fashion and food products on sale. The festival which takes place at the CentralWorld shopping complex ends on Sunday.
Taste of India: Indian ambassador to Thailand Suchitra Durai presents a bouquet of flowers to Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit who presides over the opening of the Second Edition of the North East India Festival in Thailand at the Centara Grand at CentralWorld yesterday. The two-day event celebrating 75 years of Thai-Indian diplomatic relations, features cultural shows with handicrafts, fashion and food products on sale. The festival which takes place at the CentralWorld shopping complex ends on Sunday.

The government is planning to sign agreements with several states in India to boost trade between the countries, said Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit.

He was speaking while presiding over the Second Edition of the North East India Festival in Thailand at the Centara Grand at CentralWorld yesterday. It was also attended by Indian ambassador to Thailand Suchitra Durai and dignitaries such as Minister of State for External Affairs Rajkumar Ranjan Singh.

The festival is one of several events celebrating 75 years of Thai-Indian relations.

Mr Jurin said the northeastern region of India is close to Thailand in terms of geography and cultural traditions.

For example, the Sanken water festival celebrated in the state of Arunachal Pradesh and parts of Assam is similar to Thailand's Songkran festival, which is held in mid-April to usher in the traditional new year, he said.

The Commerce Minister thanked India and its states for organising the festival, praising the move for strengthening bilateral ties.

Trade and investment between the countries are predicted to rise sharply when a tripartite road project linking Thailand, Myanmar and India is completed.

Mr Jurin said has led delegations of government and business representatives on trips to India twice -- in 2019 and 2020.

He initially signed a memorandum of understanding on trade and investment between officials from both countries while visiting Mumbai and Chennai.

Then, during his second visit, to Bangalore and Hyderabad, the Commerce Ministry was able to ink a "mini-free trade agreement" with the state of Telangana on April 11.

The deal will raise the volume of trade with Telangana, he said.

Mr Jurin said he also plans to enter a similar agreement with other Indian states such as Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat and Assam.

"The deals will further accelerate Thailand's trade and investments with India," he said.

According to the Department of International Trade Promotion, India's northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim are homes to resources essential for processing food, textiles and energy.

India is also pushing the region to be a gateway to Southeast Asia, as part of the tripartite road project.

Thai-Indian trade exchanges from January to last month amounted to 314 billion baht, up 34% from the same period last year. Of the amount, 185 billion baht is exports, up 40% from the same period last year.

The five top exports to India are fat and plant and animal-based cooking oils (up 309% year-on-year), plastic pallets (up 41%), chemicals (up 61%), gemstones and jewellery (up 150%) and iron, steel and related products (up 18%).

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