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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
Photo: FTA Watch

Lost in statistics
The figures show Thais are winning with free trade - yet many of the nation’s small farmers, struggling just to scrape by, are looking to lessons learned around the world.
PM defends FTA agreements
Defending himself and his government against criticisms of free trade area (FTA) agreements Thailand negotiated with foreign countries, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Saturday said that the FTAs had helped boost trade and increase the country’s exports.
Thailand reaps Bt9 billon trade deficit from FTAs
Thailand is suffering a nearly Bt9 billion (about US$239.5 million) trade deficit chalked up between October last year and May this year as a result of the free trade agreements (FTAs) it has entered with China, India, Australia and New Zealand.
Anti-FTA bodies join forces against US deals
Thailand’s anti-FTA movements have formed an alliance with counterparts in other countries including South Korea, Costa Rica and Colombia against US efforts to strike bilateral trade agreements across the globe.
FTAs may not be worth their weight, says academic
Thailand’s benefits from bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) may not be worth the cost, according to an academic.
Thailand : US FTAs push Thai garment exporter out of the country
Thai garment manufacturers are currently on tenter hooks as the US goes about concluding Free Trade Agreements with different countries having apparel and textile manufacturing bases.
Thailand’s attractiveness as a small-car hub
Rising fuel prices and unprecedented competition among automakers have resulted in some distinct trends that are sweeping the global markets. The most noticeable among them are a growing preference toward smaller cars and the shifting of manufacturing bases to Asia.
Britain’s Duke of York to discuss trade, investment with Thai Deputy PM
His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, Britain’s Duke of York, will discuss trade and investment with Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Somkid Jatusripitak here Thursday with an aim to strengthen bilateral trade ties between the United Kingdom and Thailand.
Government urged to defer FTA deals with US and Japan
Thailand’s caretaker government has been urged to defer its conclusion of bilateral free trade area (FTA) agreements with the United States and Japan until a newly-elected administration takes office.
Court asked to throw out FTA with Australia
FTA opponents yesterday asked the Constitution Court to annul the Thai Australian Free Trade Area agreement (Tafta) on the ground that the Thaksin government entered into it unconstitutionally two years ago.


  • 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.