Pakistan - Thailand FTA signing in pipeline

Pakistan - Thailand FTA signing in pipeline

ISLAMABAD: (APP) A high level delegation from Thailand which arrived here on Tuesday is negotiating Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Pakistan.

The agreement is likely to be signed within three months after both the sides finalize recommendations to be accommodated in the agreement.

In its 6th round of negotiations FTA, which is currently in progress, both the sides discussed the text of agreement, tariff reduction modality, request list by both side and under preparation offers list was also in negotiation, said a senior official of Ministry of Commerce here on Wednesday.

The official said that Thailand has comparative advantage in around 1000 commodities, mainly electrical and electronic appliances, machinery and components and automobiles and parts.

He added that Pakistan also has relative advantages in some 684 commodities including cotton yarn and woven textiles, ready-made garments,leather products,surgical instruments and sports goods.

Negotiations for Free Trade Agreement (FTA) were formally launched during Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meeting between Pakistan and Thailand held on August 13,2015 in Islamabad,he said.

Replying to another question, he said that before Ministry has hired consultants to study the trade regimes and feasibility of FTA between the two countries.

Talking about the FTA with China, the official said, that Phase-II of the FTA with China was also due.

He, however added that Pakistan was desirous to have duty relaxation on 50 products before launching the phase-II.

"We demanded unilateral relaxation on 50 different product for coming few years before signing Phase-II of FTA," the official said.

Replying to question, he said that Pakistan wanted relaxation on these products to protect the local market and ensure competitiveness.

He was of the view that once the Phase-II of FTA with China is launched, it would bound both the countries to have zero tariffs, however at this stage it would be difficult for Pakistani economy to provide such concessions.