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`India, Thailand need to widen trade basket'

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Oct. 9

THE base of commodities trade between Thailand and India needs to be widened. At the fifth meeting of the Thailand-India Joint Business Council (JBC) held on Thursday at Bangkok, the Thai and Indian business leaders expressed the desire to further intensify their business linkages through multilateral fora like BIMSTEC, Mekong-Ganga Cooperation and Asean.

Agreeing that the existing trade volume between India and Thailand is minuscule, the industry felt that the base of commodities traded between the two countries be widened. For example, gems and jewellery predominates India's exports to Thailand and electronic goods and machinery account for the bulk of Thai exports to India, according to a Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) release. It was also felt that the linkages in these sectors could be intensified further, an attempt should also be made to tap other areas that hold out promise.

Dr A.C. Muthiah, President, FICCI, led the Indian delegation and the Thai delegation was led by Mr Tawat T. Yip In Tsoi, Chairman, Thailand-India JBC.

Referring to the signing of the FTA between India and Thailand, business leaders felt that it will enable fulfilling of the immediate aim of doubling bilateral trade to $2 billion by 2004. Both the sides identified a host of sectors, which were critical for economic cooperation - tourism, IT, fisheries and food processing. The Indian side also noted the opportunities offered by the Indian markets in sector like entertainment, telecom and financial services.

Further, at the JBC meeting, FICCI signed three MoUs. One with International Trade Development Institute, second with Federation of Thai Industries and the third with Thai-India Cultural and Economic Cooperation Association.

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