Bangkok: Thailand and India are again at the negotiating table in a bid to expand the list of goods covered by the free trade pact from the current 82 items. The commerce ministries of the two countries opened talks to add 7,000 new products to the free trade agreement (FTA).
“The move is intended to capitalise on Thailand’s success in making inroads into the Indian market since the free trade deal came into force four years ago,” Chutima Bunyapraphasara, director-general of the trade negotiations department, said. Thailand’s export to India rose 17% last year totalling $1.8 billion (Rs7,938 crore), outpacing India’s shipments to Thailand which was valued at $1.6 billion. With a growing affluent 300 million something middle class, India represents a brilliant opportunity for Thai businesses, she added.
According to Chutima, Indian trade officials have expressed concern about the rapid increase of exports from Thailand and might be reluctant to make further concessions. The popular export items include canned seafood, air-conditioners, jewellery and electrical goods.