ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Thailand agreed to further enhance their bilateral ties especially in the field of trade and economic and cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
Both nations made commitments to boost cooperation during a meeting at the foreign office in which Pakistan was represented by the Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar whereas Thailand delegation was led by the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand and Minister of Foreign Affairs Surapong Tovichakchaikul.
Addressing a joint press conference, the two foreign ministers expressed satisfaction to convene the meeting of Joint Trade Commission very soon. Foreign minister Khar said the trade between the two countries had crossed the one-billion-dollar mark this year and expressed hope that with the meeting of Joint Trade Commission, trade relations will improve further.
The meeting of the Joint Trade Commission will lead to negotiations for the free trade agreement between the two countries. The commerce and trade minister of Thailand will visit Pakistan next month to promote trade ties.
Speaking on the occasion, the deputy prime minister of Thailand Tovichakchaikul said, “It is great satisfaction that bilateral trade has crossed the one-billion-dollar mark this year but there is still room for further enhancing it.”
Direct investment from Thailand to Pakistan had been climbing and will continue to do so, he said.
“Pakistan can be a gateway for Thailand to improve trade links with Afghanistan and other countries.”
Tovichakchaikul also called upon Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to discuss economic and diplomatic relations.
Ashraf expressed hope that trade relations and economic cooperation between the two countries will enhance further. He also appreciated the role being played by Thailand for Pakistan to become a full dialogue partner in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The Thai deputy prime minister informed the premier he will be meeting prominent business leaders of Pakistan to explore avenues of cooperation.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2013.
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