By The Nation
DTN director-general Auramon Subthaweetham said that in the last quarter of 2019, the department would focus on completing trade deals previously assigned by Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit and his deputy Weerasak Wangsuphakitkosol.
“There are five urgent missions we will be focusing on,” she said. “They are RCEP negotiations, CPTPP talks, finishing pending FTA discussions with Pakistan, Turkey and Sri Lanka, revisiting the Thailand-EU FTA, and preparing for Thailand-UK FTA negotiations.”
Auramon explained that the next session of RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) negotiations will take place this weekend (September 8-9) in Bangkok and will be attended by Minister Jurin and representatives from 16 countries.
“The meeting will discuss pending issues such as e-commerce and policies to resolve conflicts, and we expect the talks to wrap up before the year-end,” she said.
Regarding CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) discussions, the director-general said the department had organised a public hearing and is now working on the feasibility and impact study, which will be submitted for Cabinet approval once it is finished.
“As for FTAs that are still pending with three countries, we will host a meeting with Pakistan in October and with Turkey in December,” said Oramon. “However, talks with Sri Lanka may have to wait since they have just changed their negotiation committee.”
Thailand-EU FTA negotiations have been on hold due to the political situation in Thailand, but the department is now ready to resume negotiations and is studying the impacts as well as opinions of related parties. The study is expected to be wrapped up by October, after which it will be submitted to the Cabinet and the Bureau of International Economic Policy for approval.
“The DTN will start preparing for Thailand-UK FTA discussions,” said Auramon. “We have been working with the UK on setting up a trade policy database as well as conducting a feasibility study of the FTA after Brexit,” she said.
“Furthermore, the DTN is planning to hold a campaign to help Thai entrepreneurs, exporters and farmers maximise their profits from the FTAs by working with the National Farmers Council, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Thai Industries,” she added.