India and Thailand have agreed to explore mutual recognition/ cooperation  arrangements (MRAs) in nursing, accounting, audio-visual and medical tourism, in a meeting of the India Thailand Joint Trade Committee (JTC) in New Delhi on Thursday.

The two sides, led by senior officials, also discussed possible settlement of trade transactions in local currency and reviewed the progress of ongoing efforts to connect India’s Unified Payment Interface (UPI) with Thailand’s Prompt Pay Service, a statement issued by the Commerce & Industry Ministry said.

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“Both sides identified a range of potential commodities and sectors for strengthened partnership such as value-added marine products, smartphones, electric vehicles, food processing and  pharmaceuticals,” the statement said. 

India raised concerns on restriction faced in export of marine, poultry and meat products to Thailand.

The two sides discussed the scope for collaboration in the services sector and agreed to work on possible MRAs in key sectors. “To begin with, there seems to be scope for MRAs in nursing, accounting, audio-visual and medical tourism, and meetings need to be arranged between the agencies concerned,” a source said.

MRAs aim to facilitate mobility of professionals with countries that sign such a pact, agreeing to recognise qualifications earned by professionals in the partner countries. 

Thailand is India’s important trading partner in the 10-member ASEAN with total trade of $16.89 billion in 2022-23. It accounts for 13.6 per cent of India’s total trade with the ASEAN. Thailand is an important destination for India’s gems and jewellery, mechanical machinery, auto and auto components and agricultural products, especially marine products.