India, Thailand agree to commence talks for CEPA

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-cha prior to their meeting at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on Friday V Sudershan


Thai tourists to soon get double entry e-tourist visa

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the government would take steps to step up the talks for a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) and commence negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Thailand.

He was speaking after his first bilateral meeting with Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, here in the Capital.

“We see a particular synergy between Thai strengths in infrastructure, particularly tourism infrastructure, and India's priorities in this field. Information Technology, pharmaceuticals, auto-components, and machinery are some other areas of promising collaboration. We also see early conclusion of a balanced Comprehensive Economic and Partnership Agreement as our shared priority,” Modi said here after the meeting.

PM Chan-o-chan, who is on a two-day visit to India, also agreed that while India and Thailand had already been negotiating an FTA, the talks should be made all encompassing by taking the trading relations beyond just goods to include services and investments.

Early harvest scheme

Both sides had concluded an early harvest scheme in 2004 covering 84 tariff lines, post which negotiations for an FTA started. So far as many as 29 rounds of talks for FTA have taken place.

“Both countries recognised the importance of bilateral trade and noted that the bilateral economic relations are deep rooted in the existing framework including bilateral Free Trade Agreement, ASEAN India Trade in Goods Agreement and Early Harvest Scheme. Both countries agreed that the same may be enhanced further by striving to increase bilateral trade and engaging in bilateral and multilateral forums. Thailand took note of Indian initiative in further deepening bilateral economic ties towards comprehensive economic cooperation,” stated a joint statement.

Two-way trade between India and Thailand stands at $8 billion. While export to Thailand from India is $2.63 billion, Thai imports reached $5.3 billion in 2015-16.

To renegotiate BIT

In an effort to boost two-way investments, India and Thailand also decided to renegotiate a new Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).

Apart from economic ties, both sides also agreed to take their Defence ties to the next level as both countries are considered maritime neighbours.

“Thailand Prime Minister and I have agreed to forge a closer partnership in the fields of Defence and maritime cooperation. A partnership to meet our bilateral interests and to respond to our shared regional goals,” Modi said.

In December last year, India and Thailand held a high-level dialogue in Defence. According to Modi, the Defence ties will be shaped by - sharing of expertise and experiences, greater staff exchanges and more exercises, cooperation on counter-piracy on seas, deeper engagement in naval patrolling and building linkages in the field of defence R&D and production.

Modi also added that in order to encourage more tourists from Thailand, especially in the Buddhist sites, India will soon be facilitating double entry e-tourist visas for Thai tourists.

Published on June 17, 2016

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