Thailand, India near FTA

NEW DELHI: With India and Thailand negotiating to bring more products under the free trade agreement (FTA), officials from that country are hoping that it will tilt the balance of trade in their favour. “The two sides are currently negotiating in Delhi for bringing more products under the purview of FTA. Currently only 82 products are allowed,” Uraiwan Anukul, director of Thailand’s Export Trade Centre, said.

The FTA signed between India and Thailand provides a free trade area in goods to begin by 2010 and in services and investment from 2006. Under the early harvest scheme, 82 items have been identified for tariff reduction in phases. “The FTA should lead to a 20 per cent jump in exports to India, which is a big market for us. So far, we have been focusing on countries like Japan and the US and the EU. Now we are encouraging Thai companies to look to new markets in China, India, Africa and the Middle East,” said Anukul. In 2003-04, Thailand’s exports to India were worth around $477.1 million. Imports totalled $869.9 million.