Thailand wants Egypt to speed up movement on trade panel MoU
The chief of Thailand's Trade Negotiations Department has asked her Egyptian counterpart to speed up deliberations on a draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the establishment of a joint trade committee (JTC), she said on Thursday.
Oramon Supthaweetham, director-general of the department, said she recently met and held discussions with Wael Samir, director of the Asia Division under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MFTI), in Cairo.
During the discussions, Oramon asked Samir to speed up the deliberations on the draft MoU for setting up a JTC so that the two countries would have a mechanism to drive economic cooperation and tackle trade disputes and obstacles.
Oramon said she also proposed a joint action plan that would be used after the MoU on setting up the JTC is signed.
She quoted Samir as pledging that the Egyptian side would speed up the deliberations and inform Thailand as soon as possible.
She said she also informed Samir of Thai importers’ concerns about the requirement to use a Letter of Credit (L/C) as a method of payment for goods to be imported from Egypt because they were used to use other methods.
Oramon quoted Samir as replying that the requirement for Thai importers to open an L/C was just a temporary measure for the sake of Egypt's financial and foreign reserve stability.
Samir wanted Thai importers who had problems with the measure to inform the department of commerce of the MFTI to find a solution.
She added that Egyptian business operators are interested to participate in international trade shows to be held by Thailand in the future and the Thai trade representative in Cairo will later inform them of the schedules.
Oramon said Egypt is a key trade partner of Thailand in north Africa and it has a population of 110 million people and its infrastructure and law would facilitate investments by Thai investors. For example, Egypt has duty-free zones for making goods for export to Africa and Europe.
She said Thailand could also become Egypt’s manufacturing base for exporting to Asean and East Asian nations by using the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership’s free trade rights.
Last year, Egypt was Thailand’s 44th largest trading partner, and fifth largest in Africa.
Thailand and Egypt transacted bilateral trade worth US$1.228 billion last year, up 37.88 per cent over the previous year. Thailand’s exports to Egypt amounted to US$1.174 billion. Thai goods exported to Egypt included seafoods, canned foods, automobiles and parts, chemicals and rubber products.
Thailand imported about US$53.42 million worth of goods from Egypt, mostly natural gas and medical supplies.