Thailand

FTAs became a big social and political issue in Thailand ever since former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra agreed, in 2003, to negotiate a comprehensive bilateral deal with the United States. A broad multisectoral coalition in Thailand, called FTA Watch, monitors and mobilises around Thailand’s FTA policies quite frequently, given the deep-cutting and far-reaching nature of these deals for Thai society.

Apart from the Thai-US talks, Thailand has signed a limited FTA with Laos (1991) and another with China (agriculture only, 2003), framework agreements with Bahrain (as stepping stone toward an FTA with the GCC, 2002), Peru (2003) and India (2003), and fairly comprehensive FTAs with Australia (2003), New Zealand (2005) and Japan (2007).

Since 2006 and the current political crisis, Thailand’s pace of FTA negotiations has slowed down. (The government is technically still in negotiation with the US, EFTA, India, Peru and Papua New Guinea, while there has been talk of further deals with Chile, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa and Canada.) Meanwhile, civil society groups have insisted that the new Thai constitution include a provision, in Section 190, that requires Parliamentary ratification and much more public information about all FTAs that the Thai cabinet considers going into.

Regionally, Thailand is member of ASEAN and therefore part of that bloc’s FTA dealings with China, Korea, India, Australia/New Zealand and the EU. It is also part of BIMSTEC and, under Thaksin at least, was the protagonist pushing for greater trade and investment integration in the Mekong region under ACMECS, a framework for cooperation between Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

last update: May 2012

Articles

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  • 26-Dec-2014 ASEAN Briefing Thailand’s European tariff privileges withdrawn
    The European Union’s generalized scheme of preferences (GSP) will be withdrawn from over 6,200 Thai products on 1 January, 2015.
  • 4-Nov-2014 The Nation Protecting Thailand from the hazards of international arbitration
    The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has said Thailand is in urgent need of an arbitration law to facilitate settlements between Thai and foreign companies, so as to increase foreign investor confidence and prepare upcoming Asean Economic Community (AEC) next year.
  • 22-Sep-2014 NNT Japanese Minister urges Thai to support ASEAN + 6 FTA
    Japan wants Thailand to support the RCEP negotiations and proposes the resumption of the Japan–Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (JTEPA) due to the changing political situations in the two countries.
  • 9-Jul-2014 Bernama Thailand agrees to sign deal on more services
    The Thai military junta has given the green light for the country to sign an agreement on the services sector among Asean members in another 24 services, as well as to sign the Asean-India Free Trade Agreement on the services sector during the upcoming Asean Economic Ministers meeting in Myanmar on Aug 24-26.
  • 26-Jun-2014 The Nation Curtailing ties to have repercussions on the EU too, FTI warns
    Thai industries yesterday warned the European Union that its decision to curtail diplomatic ties with Thailand after the military coup could result in mutual repercussions.
  • 21-Mar-2014 Oxford Business Group Thailand focuses on free trade agreements
    Thai officials play down concerns that the political situation, which may not see a new government installed until at least June, will slow the formalising of a series of bilateral and multilateral FTAs.
  • 10-Nov-2013 Thai-India FTA signing soon
    Thailand and India are scheduled to sign their long-awaited comprehensive free-trade agreement (FTA) at the World Trade Organisation meeting next month after reaching an agreement on service-sector liberalisation.
  • 18-Oct-2013 The Nation FTA Watch condemns bid to amend Article 190
    Thai advocacy group FTA Watch yesterday issued a statement condemning attempts to end legislative scrutiny of negotiations concerning international trade agreements.
  • 9-Oct-2013 Thailande-fr La Thaïlande signe un accord de libre-échange (FTA) avec le Chili
    La Thaïlande a signé un accord de libre-échange (ALE) avec le Chili, et prépare avec avec le Pérou un partenariat stratégique commercial à l’occasion de la tenue du 21 ème sommet sur la Coopération économique Asie-Pacifique (APEC) à Bali.
  • 11-Sep-2013 Thai News Thailand to sign FTA deal with Chile in October
    Thailand is expected to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Chile during the Chilean president’s visit to the country in October.
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    Links

  • FTA Watch (Thailand)
    A broad social coalition monitoring, analysing and mobilising around the Thai government’s FTA strategies.
  • Thai FTA
    A Thai government website, produced by the Department of Trade Negotiations, on Thailand’s different FTA negotiations.