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Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has met with Thai businesspeople in the Indian capital and is due to hold talks with India’s Prime Minister to expand cooperation in trade and investment between the two countries.
The Thai prime minister and her delegation met the Thai business community in India at the Taj Palace Hotel on Wednesday morning.Federation of Thai Industries FTI chairman and the Thai Chamber of Commerce South Asia committee, consisting of representatives from the Charoen Pokphand Foods and Italian-Thai Development, also attended the meeting.
Ms Yingluck asked them about business opportunities and obstacles they face and a working panel gathered information on that to find solutions later. She then will meet with Indian leaders aiming to double two-way Thai-Indian trade and investment.
Thailand pledges to double trade and investment with India
The Thai prime minister attended an official welcoming event, being greeted by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and inspected a guard of honour, and went on to pay respects at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial where she laid a wreath before signing a visiting book.
Both countries signed the Thailand-India Free Trade Agreement Framework on 9 October 2003, covering trade in goods, services, and investment, as well as economic cooperation. They began FTA negotiations in 2004 and agreed to start tariff reduction for trade in goods in January 2010.
Since the signing of this FTA, bilateral trade between them has tripled. Foreign Minister Surapong pointed out that both countries should make every effort to conclude the bilateral FTA by the middle of 2012, as well as the BIMSTEC Free Trade Agreement. Thailand and India have also cooperated in the framework of BIMSTEC, which stands for the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, comprising Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
India and Thailand will sign a free trade agreement in 2012
“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 in India’s capital New Delhi.
She also said the proposed agreement will be one of the main points of the discussion when she meets Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later on Wednesday.
Bilateral trade between Thailand and India expanded from 4.7 billion US dollars in 2007 to 6.7 billion dollars in 2010. Both countries have agreed to double their two-way trade between 2010 and 2014.