Türkİye, Asia - Pacific

Thailand-Turkey trade volume ‘much below the potential’

Thai envoy hopes free trade deal will be finalized by 2020; could boost trade by 40%

Sorvar Alam   | 04.12.2019
Thailand-Turkey trade volume ‘much below the potential’ Thailand's Ambassador to Turkey Phantipha Iamsudha Ekarohit


Trade between Turkey and Thailand is much below its potential, Thai envoy to Ankara said Wednesday as she highlighted progress on finalizing a free trade agreement between the two nations. 

Speaking to Anadolu Agency ahead of the Thai National Day event to be held in Ankara on Thursday, Ambassador Phantipha Iamsudha Ekarohit said her “key mission” is to find the way of boosting trade relations and investment.

“We have had long relations with Turkey, but the economic cooperation has not been very intense,” she said, adding that $1.4 billion current trade volume is “still very small” compared to the economic potential of the two countries.

Trade volume and investment are “much below the potential,” she noted, highlighting the strategic location of Turkey and Thailand, the sizes of populations, economies and markets.

Boosting economic relations is the main focus of Ekarohit, who was appointed as ambassador in July 2018.

She outlined two major obstacles behind the poor trade figures as the business sector of the two sides do not know each other very well and legal difficulties.

“We have opportunities for reciprocal investment; from Turkey to Thailand and from Thailand to Turkey.

"So, we have to make private sectors of the two countries get to know each other more," she noted.

Ankara and Bangkok have been in an intense negotiation to ink a free trade deal since July 2017, as both parties met in Bangkok earlier this week for the sixth time of the FTA discussion.

Ekarohit said the agreement could be finalized by 2020, though she refused to disclose further details about the negotiations.

“We believe that if we can finalize the FTA, it will be able to increase our trade by 40%.

“In the future, it could be even more. But right now, we still need some mechanism to help boost trade. And business people have to make more acquaintances to get to know each other more."

She noted that both countries have some similarities and some differences "that can make us complement each other.”

Ekarohit said Dec. 5 is one of the most significant days for Thai people as it is the National Day, the birth anniversary of the late King, and Thailand's Father's Day.

The theme of this year’s Ankara event is “Thai Food, Thai Fruits and Thai Silk Fashion Show,” with which the embassy aims to present exotic Thai fruits as well as to organize a special Thai silk fashion show in collaboration with Turkish fashion designer Ahmet Ozceyhan.

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