LAHORE: Consul General of Thailand Thatree Chauvachata has said that Pakistan is one of the important trade partners of Thailand and both countries have ability to further strengthen mutual trade and economic ties.
He was addressing a meeting at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar, Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad also spoke on the occasion while Executive Committee Members Sheikh Muhammad Ibrahim, Haris Attiq, Zeshan Sohail Malik and Haji Asif Sehar were also present on the occasion.
The Consul General said that in 2019, the bilateral trade between two countries jumped to over $ 1.46 billion. He said that Thailand exported goods and services worth 1174.25 million dollar to Pakistan. Among these included automobiles, crude oil, chemicals, rubber products, machinery and polymer, etc.
Similarly Pakistani export to Thailand recorded an increase of 41.45 percent in 2019”, he said and added that among these export items includes fresh aquatic animals, garments and textile, etc.
He said that Pakistan ranks 36th in Thailand’s in global investment while it ranked second in South Asia. He maintained that 4 major Thai companies have already invested in Pakistan while another 4 are exploring new opportunities for investment in Pakistan. The Thai Consul General informed the house that very recently Pakistan’s Electro-Polymers Private Limited and Thai Stanley Electric Public Company Limited have inked a historic partnership by signing international Tri-party Joint Venture with Japan, Thailand and Pakistan.
He said that Thailand and Pakistan have been discussing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) since 2013 and hopefully it would be finalized very soon. He said Thailand is a major destination for tourists and last year around 80,000 Pakistani tourists visited the country.
He said political consultation at secretary level and meetings of Joint Economic Commission will be held during this year to further bolster economic relations between Pakistan and Thailand.
He said that Pakistan has been actively participating in Asian Cooperation Dialogue while Thailand also supported Pakistan in its entry to ASEAN Regional Forum. “In 2004 both countries signed MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) on Anti Terrorism and other related crimes”, he added. LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that Pakistan and Thailand enjoy strong diplomatic relations, which are based on mutual trust. He said that traditionally, Thailand and Pakistan have been enjoying steady trade relations. Thailand comes at 9th place among the top importing countries and at 24th place among the top exporting countries for Pakistan.
“In recent years, the trade between the two countries has shown tremendous improvement. In 2016, the volume of two way trade was around 1 billion dollars that surged to 1.7 billion dollars in 2018. From 2016 to 2018, Pakistan’s exports to Thailand increased from 110 million dollars to 225 million dollars whereas Pakistan’s imports from Thailand went up from 920 million dollars to 1.4 Billion dollars”, the LCCI President added.
He said that Pakistan’s exports to Thailand consist of frozen fish, wheat, mineral fuels and cotton etc., whereas we are importing automotive parts, rubber tires, chemicals, polymers, artificial staple fibres and machinery parts etc., from Thailand. LCCI President said that a lot of further progress can be made on the trade front by signing a Free Trade Agreement.
The Government of both countries should take the necessary steps in this regard. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that Thailand has made substantial progress in Halal Food Exports in last few years. LCCI has also identified Halal Food as one of our priorities sectors where we can enhance our exports. “We would certainly like to learn from your experience and also enter into Joint Ventures with your private sector companies in Halal Food sector”, he added.
LCCI Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar said that Pakistan has a very vibrant and growing Information Technology sector which offers a tremendous room for Joint Ventures between the two countries. The LCCI office-bearers invited the Thai businessmen to arrange sector-specific delegations to visit Pakistan to have first hand knowledge about the opportunities of trade and investment in Pakistan.
They said that Active engagement of the business community and diplomatic missions of the two countries, exchange of trade delegations, exhibitions of products and socio-cultural programs in each other’s country can prove handy in further improving people to people contacts.