By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
THAILAND AND THE United States will expand trade and investment cooperation under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) after meetings were suspended for 13 years.
They will also discuss the possibility of Thailand joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Thailand will ask for more Thai goods to come under the United States’ Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).
Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said yesterday that she would lead a delegation to Washington, DC, from tomorrow to Friday.
Thailand will encourage the US to expand GSP for Thai goods since US brands would like to use Thailand as a manufacturing base for travel products and re-export them to the United States.
The US brands include Coach, Tumi, Michael Kors and Under Armour.
They support GSP for additional Thai goods, as that would lower the duties on their own products shipped to the US.
Thailand will also ask the US to expand tax privileges for coconut juice, as demand has surged after the product became known as a high-nutrition beverage.
During the visit, Apiradi will also meet with US Trade Representative Michael Froman, representatives from the American Chamber of Commerce and leading American buyers for possibly strengthening trade and investment.
Thailand will ask for in-depth information about the TPP, and raise its concerns about participating in the agreement.
This meeting should help Thailand consider whether to become a member.
Other issues are making the |US aware of Thailand’s progress |in raising awareness of intellectual-property rights and suppressing infringements, and the government’s action plans for trying to solve |its illegal-fishing and labour |problems.
The government hopes that the US will approve of its efforts and upgrade Thailand’s position on the Watch List when it revises rankings for trading-partner countries in the annual Special 301 Report.
Another area for future cooperation is alternative energy. The US would like to use Thailand as the hub for Asean investment.
The Commerce Ministry hopes the mission to Washington will help tighten trade and investment cooperation between the two countries since Thailand and the US suspended closer ties under the TIFA for 13 years.
With closer cooperation and the continuing economic recovery of the US, Thai exports to that key market should grow by 3 per cent this year, Apiradi said.
According to the Commerce Ministry, the US is Thailand’s third-largest trading partner, with two-way trade reaching US$37.92 billion (Bt1.329 trillion) last year, of which Thai exports to the US amounted to $24.05 billion, while imports were $13.86 billion.