ISLAMABAD: The leaders of Pakistan and Thailand have expressed resolve to conclude an early Free Trade Agreement (FTA) at the earliest as it would help double the trade between the two countries.
The understanding came during a meeting between Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minster of Thailand Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra at Bangkok.
Both sides agreed to hold FTA negotiations in the beginning of 2014 besides holding a meeting of the Joint Trade Committee at the earliest to identify items to increase trade between the two countries, a statement released from the Foreign Office said here Tuesday.
The two leaders while vowing to enhance their trade and investment ties also agreed to collaborate in infrastructure development, science and technology, defence, education and tourism.
The Prime Ministers of Pakistan and Thailand expressed satisfaction at the progress made in various areas and agreed to further consolidate and expand partnership for the mutual benefit of the two people. The two leaders held comprehensive discussions on a range of issues including regional and international issues.
According to the statement economy and trade relations remained a high priority on the agenda.
The Prime Ministers emphasized that due to economic complementarities, vast domestic and extended neighbourhood markets and unique geographical locations of Thailand and Pakistan, the two countries could build a strong economic partnership.
The two leaders agreed to take steps to double the level of trade in the next five years.
Prime Minster Sharif apprised Prime Minister Shinawatra that Pakistan offered attractive investment opportunities and invited the Thai businessmen to invest in Pakistan in various sectors including infrastructure development, energy, auto parts manufacturing, fishery industry, food processing packages, gem and jewelry as well as tourism industry.
While talking about common cultural linkages through Gandhara civilization, the Prime Minister told the Prime Minister of Thailand that Pakistan desired to upgrade these relations in all areas of cooperation. Enhancement of Pakistan-Thailand relations was an important component of Pakistan’s Vision East Asia Policy that complements Thailand’s Look West Policy.
The two leaders also agreed on the need to enhance and deepen cooperation in the regional and multinational framework. The Prime Minister appreciated Thailand’s consistent support for Pakistan enhancement partnership with ASEAN.
The two leaders agreed on a number of steps to enhance their economic and trade cooperation that includes regular interaction between the Boards of investment, Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
Two sides also agreed to hold third meeting of the security experts in the first quarter of 2014 under the framework of “Combatting Terrorism and Certain other Crimes” in the first quarter of 2014.
The two countries to hold a meeting of Joint Committee on Science and Technology in Islamabad in February 2014.
During the talks, the Prime Minster was assisted by Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to Prime Minister, Ms. Anusha Rahman Ahmad Khan, Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunication, Jalil Abbas Jilani, Foreign Secretary, Mohammad Zubair, Chairman of Board of Investment and other senior officials.