India and Thailand are in negotiations to hasten
a free-trade agreement between the two countries. Thai
prime minister Surayud Chulanont who is on a visit to
India said negotiations with India to forge a trade
agreement are ``on track'''' after disagreements over
the range of goods to be covered held up the accord.
the army-appointed prime minister, sought to allay Indian
fears of political uncertainty, saying there would be
no backtracking on Thailand''s return to full democracy.
He said prospects for the economy were also bright with
GDP growth for 2007 expected to be between 4.0 and 4.5
and India already possess the necessary resources to
make use of our untapped opportunities," said Chulanont,
who is on a three-day visit to India beginning 25 June.
both governments, this means further strengthening our
economic partnership, deepening our linkages, minimising
barriers and maximising access for our products and
in Thailand see in India a key engine of the rising
Asian economy. We see in India a dynamic force for enhanced
economic interaction with Asia and, indeed, globally,"
and Thailand have a limited free trade pact agreed in
2003 and are negotiating a full treaty. Last year, trade
touched $3.4 billion, more than double the levels in
2001, and Indian industry groups expect it to reach
$7 billion by 2010.
some businessmen had expected the free trade agreement
to be finalised during Chulanont''s visit, Indian officials
said differences had caused a delay.
Bangkok wants to liberalise trade in goods first, New
Delhi wants to pursue free trade in goods, services
and investments simultaneously, they said.
both Chulanont and commerce minister Kamal Nath said
officials were making good progress over concluding
a pact soon. The Thai premier said a treaty allowing
free trade in goods by 2010 was expected to be in place
trade with Thailand was less than 1 per cent of its
total trade while Thailand ''s trade with China was about
eight times higher, businessmen said.
agreement will lead to lower tariffs and increase trade
between the two from the current $2.2 billion.
has signed agreements with China , Japan and Australia
and an accord with India will give the Southeast Asian
nation access to the world''s second-fastest growing
between Thailand and India that commenced in January
2004 have been hampered by India ''s demands to exclude
almost 500 items from the tariff-reduction package,
Thai commerce minister Krirk-Krai Jirapaet said on June
11. The exclusion will mean the draft accord will lower
70 per cent of the trade tariffs between the two nations,
less than the 90 per cent WTO goal, he said.
two nations are expected to complete negotiations this
year, paving the way for signing of the free-trade agreement.
on as much as 80 per cent of goods and services shipped
between the two nations may be cut.
offered similar tariff cuts to the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations, with which it''s seeking a trade accord.
The negotiations are deadlocked on agricultural products,
which India wants to exclude from tariff cuts. Farm
products are among Asean''s biggest exports to India.
and Thailand have already cut duties on 82 products,
including fruits, vegetables, wheat, diamonds and some
metals, under a framework agreement that came into operation
in September 2004. India and Thailand are aiming to
abolish duties on goods traded between the two countries