India and Thailand agree to provide fast track business visa service

Bangkok, May 30 (ANI): In order to further create a supportive atmosphere for trade and investment promotion as well as to facilitate travel of business persons of both countries, India and Thailand have agreed to provide fast track business visa service to the qualified entrepreneurs of each other's countries.

"The two Prime Ministers underscored the need to have an institutional arrangement on the social security benefits of the workers in each other's countries, which will facilitate labour mobility and investments between the two countries. Both sides noted with satisfaction the positive discussions on Social Security Agreement between the two countries that would facilitate and streamline the movement of professionals and workers and expressed the hope that this agreement would be finalized at an early date. In this connection, they agreed to discuss a proposal for the establishment of a framework to enable regulated deployment of labour from India into the required sectors in Thailand," said a joint statement on Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's visit to Thailand.

"The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed their strong commitment to achieve a comprehensive and balanced outcome of the Thailand-India FTA negotiations. Both sides appreciated the progress made in the negotiations since the last round held in New Delhi in November 2012. Given the emerging convergence on most issues, both sides expressed hope that the negotiations be concluded soon after the next round of negotiations in June-July 2013 in Bangkok. The Prime Ministers advised their respective negotiators to show the required flexibility in concluding the long pending negotiations to give a further fillip to the bilateral trade which has shown healthy growth even during the current economic slowdown," the joint statement adds.

Dr. Singh and his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra welcomed the successful conclusion of the negotiations on the ASEAN-India Agreement on Trade in Services and the Agreement on Investment under the broader framework of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between India and the ASEAN.

"They also agreed that the BIMSTEC FTA will be beneficial to the region and encouraged the BIMSTEC members to accelerate the negotiations with an aim to concluding the negotiations at the earliest opportunity," the joint statement said.

The two Prime Ministers took note with satisfaction that the bilateral trade between Thailand and India has grown significantly in recent years.

"Over the past five years, trade between Thailand and India increased at over 15 percent per annum. Last year, bilateral trade crossed USD 8.6 billion. Both sides hoped that bilateral trade would continue to further expand for the mutual benefit and sustainable economic growth of both countries," the joint statement said.

The two Prime Ministers appreciated the growth in investment between Thailand and India in recent years, which has contributed to economic growth and job creation in both countries.

"Last year, Thailand's Board of Investment approved 25 Indian projects which were worth over USD 200 Million. Meanwhile, investment in India by the Thai private sector is growing steadily. FDI inflows from Thailand to India were over USD 12 million last year. They welcomed the new initiatives taken to facilitate and increase the flow of investments between the two countries," the joint statement said.

India invited participation of the Thai private sector in India's plans to modernize and upgrade manufacturing and infrastructure sectors, especially in Delhi-Mumbai and Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridors, the Buddhist circuit and the North-East States of India.

"India also welcomed Thai investment particularly in sectors such as ports and highways, electronics, automobile components, food processing and power generation, as well as tourism and hospitality facilities. India expressed its interest in participating in mega transport and infrastructure development projects in Thailand," the joint statement said.

The two Prime Ministers welcomed establishment of Thailand-India Business Forum with the involvement of the private sector to stimulate expansion of bilateral trade and investments, and facilitate business partnerships, and expressed the hope that the Thailand-India Business Forum will expand the existing ties between private sectors in the two countries. (ANI)

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