Saturday, October 31, 2020

Thai private sector wants progress on EU free trade deal

Sep 23. 2020
Trade Negotiations Department director general Auramon Supthaweethum
Trade Negotiations Department director general Auramon Supthaweethum
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By The Nation

The private sector has urged the government to resume talks on a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU).

Thai Chamber of Commerce vice chairman Chusak Chuenprayoth said that members supported resumption of the talks and did not want to see any further delays to the FTA, which would benefit the country.

He admitted the FTA would impact some Thai businesses, but said they should hurry to adjust their operations to comply with export requirements and standards under the planned agreement.

Waiving trade tariffs under the EU FTA would boost Thailand’s economy by 1.28 per cent or Bt200 billion, said Trade Negotiations Department director general Auramon Supthaweethum, citing a study by the Institute of Future Studies for Development.

Findings from a public hearing on the FTA, including concerns at its impact and proposed remedial measures, will be put to Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit in mid-October, Auramon said.

It should be clear by the end of this year whether Thailand is ready to resume talks with EU, she added.

The EU has already signed free trade deals with Singapore and Vietnam and is in talks for a deal with Indonesia. It has suspended talks with Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines. Talks with Thailand that began in 2013 were suspended in 2014 following the military coup.

Thailand has so far signed 13 free trade accords with 18 countries – Asean partner countries, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Peru.

Trade with these 18 partners last year accounted for 62.8 per cent of Thailand’s total global trade.

The EU is currently Thailand’s fifth largest trading partner, after Asean, China, Japan and the US. It is the fifth largest investor in Thailand after Japan, China, Asean, and Taiwan.


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