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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

FTA talks finally approach finish line
After eight agonising years of negotiations, Thailand and India hope to conclude talks on a wide-ranging free trade agreement (FTA) by March, according to Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul.
Thai-Peruvian FTA takes effect
The Early Harvest programme under the free trade agreement between Thailand and Peru took effect on Dec 31, 2011, covering 70 per cent of goods traded between the two countries.
Thailand: Free-trade talks with Pakistan planned
Thailand will soon launch free-trade negotiations with Pakistan, pursuing its second bilateral pact with a South Asian nation following an existing agreement with India.
TDRI pushes for fewer FTA restrictions and more pacts
Business leaders and academics recommend the new government ease rules and extend the coverage of current free-trade agreements as well as step up the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks.
Deals with Peru, Chile progressing
The delayed free-trade area agreement between Thailand and Peru is likely to take effect in November, while an FTA with Chile should be concluded by mid-2012, says the Commerce Ministry.
FTA pact’s product list under attack
The government is coming under increasing attack from activists for pushing ahead with EU-Thailand free trade agreement talks which include alcohol, tobacco and medicines.
Thai-Lao business blossoms
The value of cross-border trade between Thailand and Laos is forecast to reach 80 billion baht at the end of this year, as the Thai government is pursuing a new strategy to optimise free trade agreements.
Thailand-Peru FTA could be sealed next month
The Thai government will propose the Parliament to endorse a bilateral free trade area agreement with Peru next month in order to enhance the effectiveness of trade pacts this year, according to Thai Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai.
Thai cabinet approves draft of free trade agreement with Chile
The draft will be proposed for the approval of parliament before negotiations kick off.
China to replace US as Thailand’s main export market this year
The surge in Thai exports to China is attributed to China’s strong economic growth and the implementation of the China-ASEAN free trade agreement on January 1


  • 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.