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Trade, investment dividend sought from Brexit 

Apr 18. 2019
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By THE NATION

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TRADE officials spy opportunities from the likelihood of more flexible regulations in Britain after it leaves the European Union.

The prospect of eased trade and investment regulations in Europe’s second-biggest economy, they say, would provide a boost to Thai exporters and investors who are eyeing the key market.

The Department of Trade Negotiations (DTN), under the Commerce Ministry, plans to push for negotiations on an amendment of the tariff quota on Thai goods that are exported to the European Union and the United Kingdom, after it completes it exit from the bloc.

The DTN will keep a close eye on developments concerning Brexit and prepare Thailand for the new trading and investment landscape after the historic break-up. Last week, the EU granted the UK a six-month extension to its departure date, pushing the process back to as late as October 31, said Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the DTN. 

The uncertainties swirling around Brexit have led to short-term impacts on Thailand, such as those related to the weakening of the British pound, making Thai exports to the UK less competitive, Auramon said. 

However, Thailand may not be hurt in the long run. On the contrary, Thailand may see benefits from Brexit, as the UK’s regulations on trade and investment may become more flexible, Auramon said. 

For example, the UK announced it would stop enforcing the anti-dumping tax on four categories of Thai exports: sweet corn, fibreglass, hand pallet trucks, and steel pipe joints, she said.

 The UK is Thailand’s 20th largest trading partner with a total trade value of US$7 billion in 2018. Of that amount, Thailand exported some $4 billion worth of goods while importing $2.9 billion. Trade with Britain accounts for 1.4 per cent of Thailand’s total trade value with the world. 

 The Commerce Ministry is in negotiations with the UK and the EU to amend the tax quota for Thai goods entering these markets after Brexit. The quota affects exports such as rice, canned fish, and cassava. 

 “Our primary goal is preserving the interest of Thailand to receive the post-Brexit total quota (the UK and the EU combined) of no less than the original quota. The Ministry is also preparing a feasibility study on a potential Thailand-UK free-trade agreement in the future,” Auramon said. 

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