Envoy also points to difficulties in opening LCs, repatriating foreign currency

 

KARACHI:

Thailand Ambassador Chakkrid Krachaiwong has said that Thai businesspeople and all other foreign businesses have been facing issues of Letters of Credit (LCs) and repatriating foreign currency from Pakistan, and if these are addressed, a more business-friendly environment will emerge and attract a lot of foreign investors.

“Pakistan and Thailand have been enjoying warm, friendly relations for the last seven decades and the Thai government is prioritising enhanced economic cooperation with Pakistan. I’ll do everything to promote relationship between both the sides as they are part of the Asian family,” he said while speaking at a meeting at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) during a visit with his delegation.

“The Thai government is focusing on reaching free trade agreement (FTA) but as of today, we are waiting for Pakistan to propose a date for the next round of negotiations,” said the ambassador while requesting KCCI to approach the government so that FTA could be finalised, which would prove beneficial for both the economies.

He described Karachi as a “vibrant city” and highlighted a host of business opportunities in many sectors including tourism, automotive parts, food processing, food-related products and agricultural products.

“To promote tourism, Thailand has already proposed Pakistani side to have more cooperation in terms of sustainable tourism by protecting culture and natural resources, which will prove favourable for the tourism business,” he said.

He mentioned that Thai products being exported to Pakistan were not only beneficial for Thailand but also for Pakistan as Thailand provided good quality raw materials at competitive prices to Pakistan’s manufacturing sector. “For example, we visited Sialkot and found that the world-famous Pakistani footballs being exported all around the world were made of Thai rubber, which clearly represents the synergy between the two countries.”

Read Thailand awaiting Pakistan’s response to FTA

 

He said that resumption of Thai Airways operations in Pakistan, which flies five times a week from Karachi to Bangkok, proved successful as many Pakistanis were frequently travelling via Thai Airways whereas a large number of Thai tourists visited Pakistan to explore the beautiful country and rich culture.

He said that Thailand is situated in the centre of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region where a wide range of Thai trade fairs were regularly held about gems and jewellery, auto parts and accessories, heating, air conditioning, ventilation, refrigeration, food, agricultural products and the like.

He said more than 100,000 visitors including potential buyers of the entire Asean region attended them. He invited the KCCI to visit Thailand for participation in the trade fairs to promote products of both sides in the Asean region. He also urged the KCCI to be in touch with the Thai Chamber of Commerce for business, trade and investment opportunities in Thailand.

Earlier, KCCI President Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh stated that despite immense trade and economic potential, Pakistan’s exports to Thailand were very nominal at $164 million in FY23 as compared to $146 million in the previous year.

“Consequently, Pakistan’s trade deficit with Thailand is large as imports from Thailand often outweigh its exports, impacting the country’s overall trade balance, he said. “Pakistan’s exports to Thailand are primarily limited to a few sectors, which include textiles, minerals, seafood, etc. Hence, diversification is needed to enhance the volume of trade between the two countries.”

He said that when it came to FTA with Thailand, it was at an advanced stage wherein negotiations must take place at the earliest to finalise the agreement, which must also be capable of dealing with trade barriers, besides focusing on trade diversification.

 

 

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