India, Thailand plan FTA

India, Thailand plan FTA

India and Thailand will sign a free trade agreement by the middle of this year, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Wednesday.

“I hope this free trade agreement with India will be in place by the middle of this year,” Shinawatra said in a speech at a business conference. 

Addressing leaders of Indian industry at the luncheon meeting hosted by Assocham, Ficci and CII here,Shinawatra said, the two countries can also have cooperation in developing the port infrastructure at Chennai.

Shinawatra said India-Thailand trade has seen a quantum jump from US$1 billion to US$7 billion in the last ten years, helped by ‘Early Harvest’ pact, limited to 82 items.

The two countries want to upgrade it to a full-fledged Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) covering not only goods but also services and investment. “We will work together to finalise FTA (CEPA) by middle of this year.

This will cut the tariff on remaining products. This is why the two governments are setting up a goal to double the bilateral trade to US$14 billion in 2014,” Shinawatra said. She said there is a potential to collaborate in areas like IT, manufacturing, tourism and medical services. “We hope to work together to set up a high-level forum with businessmen,” she said.

Shinawatra expressed desire to double trade with India to US$14 billion by 2014 and forge maritime partnership to develop seaport at Dawei, a strategic location on the southwestern coast of Myanmar.