Pakistan FTA inches closer after Islamabad meetings
text size

Pakistan FTA inches closer after Islamabad meetings

Thailand and Pakistan have been making progress on a free trade agreement (FTA), with negotiations expected to be wrapped up within a year.

Sunanta Kangvalkulkij, deputy director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, said the two nations held a fourth round of the talks this week in Islamabad, reaching an agreement on rules of origin.

The two parties also discussed tariff reduction modality, by which Thailand has asked Pakistan to open its market to Thai products such as processed food, sugar, chemicals, rubber, plywood, paper, textiles, electric appliances and automotive gear.

The countries agreed to hold a joint meeting every month in a bid to conclude the talks by the year-end.

Thailand will host the fifth round of talks during Oct 18-20.

According to Ms Sunanta, the past three rounds produced agreement on issues such as sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade and trade remedies.

Once in effect, the trade pact will enable Thailand to expand more easily into South Asia and the Middle East, she said.

It will also remove trade obstacles in the form of both tariffs and non-tariff measures, increasing the competitiveness of both countries and broadening investment opportunities.

Several Thai companies, including Siam Cement Group, Thai Urethane Group and Charoen Pokphand Group, have a presence in Pakistan, which ranks second in South Asia for Thai trade after India.

Bilateral trade between Thailand and Pakistan has steadily increased over the last five years, with growth averaging 7% annually. Bilateral trade reached US$1.03 billion last year.

Thailand has 12 FTAs in place, including the Thai-Chilean pact that went into effect last November. The country made shipments worth $50.5 billion to FTA partners last year.

Apart from Pakistan, the government is revving up trade talks with Turkey. The government had set a goal to resume talks with Turkey this year, but progress stalled because of Turkey's internal political problems.

Do you like the content of this article?