Suchart Liengsaengthong, Thailand’s Ambassador to Pakistan visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce (ICCI), along with the 12 member delegation of various Thai companies. These members brought samples of their products in order to introduce Thai products to Pakistan’s Business community and to attract possible partnerships with Pakistani Business companies. The delegation was representing different sectors of Thai industry including food, fashion, cosmetics, construction, energy, tourism, grocery, agriculture, electronics and pharmaceuticals.
Thai Ambassador told media that businessmen in Thailand are looking for a serious business with Pakistani counterparts and for that they have brought sample products with them.He added that,another reason for this visit was to eliminate misconceptions and insecurities about Pakistani market from the minds of Thai business community. According to him Pakistan market possesses great potential for Thai entrepreneurs.
In the last two years Ambassadors and representatives from both countries have indulged in a lot of meetings to devise policies for improved trade. Free Trade Agreement(FTA) between both countries maybe operational soon .The removal of non-tariff barriers and FTA will help reduce the operational cost of existing businesses and startups. The visit of Thai Ambassador to ICCI is considered to be a part of FTA talks.
The negotiations are taking time due to the concerns raised by Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) earlier this year. The president of FPCCI was of the opinion that previous FTAs with China and Malaysia brought no significant success and government should take its time on research on trade potential before signing an FTA with Thailand. He was concerned about the capabilities of government on negotiating terms for FTAs.He also wanted the government to share sectoral research and opportunities with the chamber for the FTA with Thailand.
The FTA is expected to be signed by the end of 2016, but before that, the government wants to gain confidence and support of business chambers so they may address their concerns. After the concerns raised by FPCCI government has arranged various visits to business Chambers.
Earlier this year in Feb Consul General of Thailand in Karachi, Suwat Kaew visited Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and discussed prospects of trade between both countries and advantages that maybe explored after FTA.
Extending full support and cooperation to the business and industrial community of Karachi, he assured to fully facilitate the businessmen and industrialists who were willing to visit Thailand. “If anyone faces troubles in obtaining Thai visas or has any other issues,the same must be promptly conveyed to us so that we could bring these issues to the notice of Thai government with a view to get them resolved”, he added. KCCI President also supported the view of improved bilateral trade between the countries and also the importance of an FTA.
Thai Ambassador Suchart Liengsaengthong, also visited Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in July to get them on board for the FTA and to discuss the possible trade opportunities for both sides.
The current Trade between Thailand and Pakistan is up to 1 billion USDs, which is not up to the potential according to the business sectors of both countries.
Pakistan’s current export to Thailand includes frozen fish, woven cotton fabric, crustaceans, cotton yarn, leather, medicament mixtures and electro-medical apparatus.However,Thailand is interested in increasing the export of constructional, pharmaceutical, mechanical, textile and industrial goods to Pakistan.An FTA can benefit those who deal with the imports and exports of these goods.
Both countries provide geographical advantages to each other as well,since Thailand has the “Look West Policy” while Pakistan has the “Vision East Asia Policy” and both countries have good potential to complement each other in many areas.Pakistan can also explore and develop the tourism sector with the Thai government and share the benefits of CPEC with the Thai entrepreneurs.
About the Contributor:
Murtaza Ali Baig is a young IT researcher, entrepreneur and a social worker.He is currently working as a researcher at LUMS, where he is also pursuing his MS in computer Sciences. Apart from the research and academia he is working with different tech startups in various capacities. He is also member of Board of Directors at Pakistan Citizens Alliance welfare organization.