Pakistan and Thailand plan free trade agreement
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, defense, 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.
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 jewellery, tourism and hospitality," he added. ■