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20/06/2009 - Thailand and India sign free trade agreement  20/06/2009 - Thailand and India sign free trade agreement

After five years of negotiations a free trade agreement between Thailand, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka was finally completed at the Millenium Hotel in Patong, Phuket, earlier this month.

The deal could lead to more than three Billion USD in new trade between the countries and reduced prices on thousands of products and raw materials as well as opening up trade in previously protected goods.  The final sign off is expected before the end of the year.

Chana Kanaratanadilok, deputy director general of the Ministry of Commerce's Trade Negotiations Department, announced the agreement as a breakthrough in trade relations for the region and said that Thailand&rsquos industries would benefit greatly from reduced raw material costs, while the less developed countries would benefit from increased trade with their larger neighbours.  ''Everyone, not only Thailand, will have more trade advantages because of this agreement,” he said.

The products covered by the agreement have not yet been announced but Mr Kanaratanadilok said that motor car imports would benefit from the agreement.  This could mean that the Tata Nano, currently the world's cheapest car, retailing at less that 2,350 USD (approx 80,000 Baht) could soon be available in Thailand.

The Nano is promoted with the slogan, 'now you can change the way you travel forever' and it is thought that it146s price tag could result in a decline in the number of motorbikes on the roads of Phuket.

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