SUNDAY, April 14, 2024

Thailand forges ahead with free trade pacts to ignite economic growth

Thailand forges ahead with free trade pacts to ignite economic growth

Thailand is actively negotiating 11 free trade agreements (FTAs) in a bid to expand trade, attract investment and bolster the country’s revenue streams.

The Commerce Ministry’s Department of Trade Negotiations said that five of these agreements involve improving existing partnerships, while the remaining six seek to establish new trade and investment connections.

Four FTAs currently in progress this year are:

• Sri Lanka: The FTA is scheduled to be officially signed in early February

• South Korea: Talks are underway for additional free trade measures beyond the existing ASEAN-South Korea FTA

• United Arab Emirates: This FTA targets the promotion of Thai exports to the Middle East

• European Free Trade Association (EFTA): FTA negotiations aim to build cooperation in technology and innovation

Looking ahead, Thailand plans to initiate negotiations for an FTA with the European Union next year to enhance competitiveness in the European market. The country presently boasts 14 FTAs with 18 partners, including China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, India, Peru, Chile, Hong Kong and the nine ASEAN partners.

Recognising the importance of thoroughly studying FTAs, including benefits, challenges and impacts, the government also plans to hold hearings among stakeholders to ensure advantages extend to the Thai population.

“The government is utilising FTAs as tools to boost Thai exports,” government spokesman Chai Wacharonke said on Sunday.

He added that the government’s strategic approach aligns with its “proactive economic diplomacy”, aimed at fortifying the Thai economy, fostering revenue generation and supporting entrepreneurship.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is looking to expand trade opportunities and attract investment to stimulate economic growth and enhance people’s quality of life, he said.