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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


Govt eyes Hong Kong free trade deal
Thailand plans to sign a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Hong Kong, which will cover the service sector, including green finance and cyber security.
Australia still in the cold while NZ lands plum trade deal with China
Australian businesses in China have praised a New Zealand trade deal which overcomes prohibitive red tape and any unofficial go-slow at Chinese ports that can plague Australian exporters.
Somkid affirms interest in Hong Kong FTA talks
Despite the ongoing protests, Thailand remains confident about the potential of Hong Kong and is negotiating a bilateral free trade agreement with the autonomous territory.
Somkid pushes for resumption of FTA talks with EU
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak is wooing the EU to revive talks on a Thai-EU free trade agreement after the next round of talks in October.
EEU FTA in progress
Thailand could see a windfall in bilateral trade though an upcoming free trade agreement (FTA) with the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
Thailand forwards 100 tariff lines to include in proposed FTA
Thailand has forwarded a list of 100 products to Pakistan to include in the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) with the South East Asian country.
Kingsgate prepares for legal challenge to mine closure
The Australian mining company Kingsgate Consolidated, armed with a US$55-million insurance payout for the closure of its gold mine in Thailand, says it now has the financial means to pursue its arbitration case against the Thai government.
FTA talks being accelerated
Negotiators are revving up free trade talks with dialogue partners for the remaining months this year and look set to resume talks with the EU and join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a newly formed bloc of 11 Pacific Rim nations excluding the US, next year.
Thailand sees shortcut to Belt and Road with Sri Lanka trade deal
Two nations to kick off bilateral FTA talks in Bangkok.
Thailand and Russia-led bloc to launch free trade talks
Partners aim to triple trade to $10bn by 2020.

    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.