NA ratifies Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement between Bhutan and Thailand

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA) Minister, Norbu Wangchuk, moved the motion to ratify the trade and economic cooperation agreement between Bhutan and Thailand. The House ratified the agreement between Bhutan and Thailand after 37 Member voted ‘Yes’ and 3 Member voted ‘No’ while one Member abstained yesterday.

The government initiated discussions with the Thailand towards having a formal trade agreement between the two countries, considered as a priority in the 11th FYP.

The agreement is expected to promote and strengthen the relationship and confidence of the private sectors of the two countries which would further enhance bilateral trade, commerce and investment between the two countries.

In 2012, Bhutan’s exports to Thailand was worth of 5mn and imports from Thailand was worth of 740mn.”

“At present situation, business and private sectors do business without the support of the government. So, this agreement will help the private sector and business men.” Lyonpo said

Article1 of the Agreement states, “The parties shall, in accordance with their national laws and regulations, take appropriate measures to promote, facilitate and develop trade and economic cooperation between the two countries on a long-term and stable basis.”

MP Dorji Wandi of Pangbang constituency said people are only doing micro business with $3,000 annually to import things from Thailand, and so the amount is not enough to expand the business and the trade deficit will increase, therefore, it is important to increase export to Thailand.

MoEA Minister Norbu Wangchuk said, “The root cause of the economic instability is due to huge imports from other countries, it is important to increase exports to Thailand. This agreement will benefit to export and inject the foreign currency into our country.”

Lyonpo said that this agreement is only a frame work and there are no specific points as there are opportunities of Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and Free Trade Agreement (FTA) where exports are not subject to taxes.

MP Khandu Wangchuk of Lamgong-Wangchang constituency said that Section 8 highlights all the important points, therefore, it is important to decrease imports from other countries and increase export to other countries.

Article 8 of the Agreement states that in order to facilitate the implementation of this agreement, the parties have agreed to establish a joint trade committee, comprising the representatives to be designed by respective parties. The functions of the joint committee shall include, reviewing the implementation of this agreement, exploring opportunities for increasing and diversifying mutual trade and economic relations between the parties, considering and adopting appropriate measures for the development of a dynamic bilateral trade.

The joint trade committee shall be co-chaired by the Minister of Commerce of the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and Minister of Economic Affairs of the RGoB.

The joint economic committee shall meet at least once a year at a mutually convenient time and place agreed by the parties, or upon request by either of the parties.

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