After having had four rounds of talks, Pakistan is pinning hopes on signing a free trade agreement with Thailand. Matters that have been discussed relate to trade in goods, rules of origin, technical barriers to trade, trade remedies, customs procedures, legal and institutional issues and trade facilitation. What remains are discussions on investment, intellectual property rights, trade in services and competition.
The trade volume between Pakistan and Thailand stood at $952 million at the end of 2015-16. Pakistan’s exports constitute107 million dollars while imports amount to $845 million.
Among Pakistan’s exports to Thailand are fish and fish preparations, cotton fabrics for women, paper and paper board, raw cotton, cotton yarn, leather, medical and pharmaceutical products, material of animal origin, medical and surgical instruments, chemical elements and compounds. Pakistan already has free trade agreements with Malaysia and Indonesia.
Meanwhile, Pakistan is going to access non-traditional trade markets of the world and liberalise its trade environment, which will ensure sustained economic growth. While negotiating a free trade agreement with Thailand, Pakistan is also looking to access a huge untapped market in the east Asian region.