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Thailand and UK advance towards free trade agreement


Thailand and the United Kingdom will sign an agreement to set up a Joint Trade Committee on Commerce and Economic Cooperation this month, with both countries eying a free trade agreement (FTA).

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Thailand informed the UK it was interested in forging an FTA at a teleconference meeting with Britain’s trade envoy Mark Garnier on Monday (March 22), said Sansern Samalapa, deputy commerce minister.

Mark Garnier

Thailand will become the first country in Asean to sign a trade deal with the UK after it left the European Union at the beginning of this year.

The Commerce Ministry will sign a memorandum of understanding with the UK minister of international trade next Monday (March 29) to set up the Joint Trade Committee. The committee will promote expansion of Thai-UK trade and investment in agriculture, food and beverage, technology and financial services, Sansern said. It will run in parallel with the private-sector Thai-UK Business Leadership Council.

In 2020, Thai-UK trade amounted to $4.876 billion (Bt154.8 billion) with Thai exports worth $3.087 billion and imports from the UK worth $1.788 billion. Major Thai exports to the UK are processed chicken, motorcycle rubber products and components, autos and equipment, circuit boards, and gems and jewellery. Major Thai imports from the UK include machinery and components, circuit boards, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, electrical machinery and components, and drinks.

Thailand and the UK also discussed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) at the March 22 meeting. The UK has applied to join the trade pact of 11 members (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam) while Thailand is still studying the benefits of becoming a member.

Published : March 23, 2021

By : The Nation