Sunday, January 19, 2020

Thailand to speed up free-trade agreements

Dec 07. 2019
Weerasak Wangsupakitkosol
Weerasak Wangsupakitkosol
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By THE NATION

Deputy Commerce Minister Weerasak Wangsupakitkosol said on Friday (December 6) that next year Ministry of Commerce is planning to host Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meetings with several trade partners including Laos, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam and Singapore, as well as attend the meetings hosted by other countries, among them Maldives, South Korea, Russia, Malaysia and Japan.

“We will use these meetings as a platform to finalize free trade agreements (FTA) with pending partners including Turkey, Sri Lanka and Pakistan,” he said. “Furthermore, we will seek new to establish FTA deals with new partners such as the European Union, the United Kingdom, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), and Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement of Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to increase Thailand’s competitiveness and expand our export markets.”

Weerasak further added that his Ministry will also establish a special fund to assist those entrepreneurs affected by the upcoming FTAs. “The fund committee will be chaired by Commerce Permanent Secretary, and will have its first meeting on December 20,” he added.

Meanwhile, Rapibhat Chantarasriwong, secretary-general at Office of Agricultural Economics (OAE), said that the special safeguards (SSG) privileges that Thailand receives from New Zealand under Thailand-New Zealand Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (TNZCEP) will expire on January 1, 2021. “This will result in 3 of our products exported to New Zealand, namely milk, cream and beef being subject to 5, 18 and 50 per cent tax respectively instead of current rate at 0 per cent,” he said. “The OAE will consult Ministry of Commerce to plan measures to mitigate the impact before the expiration date. One of the possible solutions is to find new partners through these JTC meetings.”

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