Pakistan, Thailand eye free trade agreement

Published: August 21, 2013
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif shaking hands with his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra before their talks in Islamabad. PHOTO: AFP

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif shaking hands with his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra before their talks in Islamabad. PHOTO: AFP


Pakistan and Thailand on Tuesday expressed the resolve to build a strong economic partnership, double their trade volume to $2 billion in the next five years and eventually enter into a free trade agreement (FTA).

Appearing at a joint news conference after their formal talks, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Thai counterpart, Yingluck Shinawatra, pledged to collaborate in the field of trade, culture, infrastructure development, science and technology, defence, education and tourism.

The Pakistan leader said the two sides held ‘comprehensive discussions’ on a wide range of issues and noted the convergence of views on key bilateral and international issues.

Regional and international issues also came up for discussion.

Shinawatra extended her country’s support to Pakistan in becoming a full dialogue partner with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) – a gesture appreciated by her counterpart.

Nawaz said building robust economic and trade relations were a priority with the government. “Both sides have agreed to work towards a free trade agreement to form the centerpiece of our economic partnership,’ she added. Both sides have agreed to establish a joint trade committee and a joint business council at a private level to promote business-to-business contacts between them.

“We are happy to note that private business sectors on both sides have also met today,” the premier said and also mentioned that the inaugural session of the joint trade committee was being held tomorrow to identify areas of future collaboration.

He expressed the hope that these desired steps would expand bilateral trade and investments and facilitate business partnerships. “We have invited Thai private businesses to invest in Pakistan in various sectors, including infrastructure development, energy, autoparts manufacturing, food processing, packaging, gems and jewelry, tourism and hospitality,” he added.

Premier Nawaz said greater connectivity between Pakistan and Thailand was also very important to facilitate trade and investment and said “to this end we believe that Pakistan and Thailand may utilise each other’s geo-strategic location.”

He said people-to-people contacts were one of the most important aspects of their relations. The number of Pakistanis visiting Thailand is steadily increasing, he said and hoped that “the Thai Buddhist community would visit the land of ancient civilisation – Gandhara, known as a bedrock of their faith and spiritualism.”

“We have agreed on the need to enhance and deepen cooperation in the regional and multilateral frameworks,” the prime minister said. “We desire to comprehensively upgrade our relationship with Thailand in all areas of cooperation,” he said and termed it a critical component of ‘Vision East Asia’ policy that complements Thailand’s ‘Look West’ policy.

Prime Minister Shinawatra also mentioned the importance of enhancing people-to-people contacts and agreed on need to further enhance bilateral and regional cooperation through various multilateral fora, like Asian Cooperation Dialogue and for enhanced South Asia and South East Asia interaction.

She expressed the belief that international cooperation will help address the challenges being confronted by extremism and terrorism and also sought support of Pakistan at the Organisation of Islamic Conference.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2013.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Aug 21, 2013 - 3:27AM

    Let’s hope it is beneficial for both countries!


  • Sodomite
    Aug 21, 2013 - 3:32AM

    Nice looking lady. Good photo.


  • Nadeem
    Aug 21, 2013 - 9:03AM

    Shinawatra- young and gorgeous PM of Thailand, could help Pakistan to augment its Electronics Industry. Thailand being very much advanced in this field could teach the Pakistanis how to make progress in the electronic research work and making and inventing their own instruments and equipment.


  • angry citizen
    Aug 21, 2013 - 9:51AM

    Since last decade, thailand has struggled hard to attain better position and name on the world’s map. I have been to thialand and i was pleased to see the dedication of its female population in country’s economic development. One can see the female workers everywhere from pancake stalls to the position of Prime Minister. I wish Pakistan should learn something from them.


  • Naqvi
    Aug 21, 2013 - 10:13AM

    There we go again, handshake propaganda about to hit social media.


  • First Name
    Aug 21, 2013 - 11:35AM

    How come Zardari never met this thai premier lady


  • Hasan
    Aug 21, 2013 - 2:39PM

    Well, ain’t she pretty. Lucky Thais. Pakistan was also lucky to have a pretty lady as its PM, but alas.Recommend

  • Max
    Aug 21, 2013 - 3:43PM

    @First Name:
    Lets just say that the Thai lady knew better.Recommend

  • Aug 21, 2013 - 8:32PM

    Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. I very very love.


  • brix
    Aug 21, 2013 - 9:34PM

    @Naqvi Nawaz shareef is giving a man like graceful hand shake not drooling like Zardari when he met Sarah Palin so don’t worry its not going to hit on like that way in social media although our social media has great potential to manipulate even positive things into greatly negative things.


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