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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


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Thailand’s PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says the country is ready to join the EAEU free trade zone in case it promotes better economic outcomes of the country
Only 11.4% of SMEs say they are set for AEC
Nien out of 10 Thai small and medium-sized enterprises say they are not ready for the Asean Economic Community
Thailand, Pakistan bid to finalise FTA in 2017
Thailand and Pakistan are seeking to conclude a free-trade agreement by mid-2017 in a bid to reduce over-reliance on the traditional export markets of both nations. The FTA negotiations will begin late next month.
Thai seafood products could be banned, warns MEP
A prominent lawmaker from the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries told EurActiv he would support giving a “red card” to Thailand, meaning banning the import of its fisheries products, if illegal fishing isn’t curbed, and if the practice of using slave labour is not abandoned.
Thailand to pursue free-trade zone with Russia’s EEU
Thailand plans to apply for membership in the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union and launch a free-trade zone by year-end, a media report said.
WHO warns govt about risks of FTAs
Experts say the government should carefully consider before signing free-trade agreements (FTA) - as people could be hurt by deals that prolong drug patents and restrict information about medicine.
India, Thailand still disagree on FTA details: Thai official
The much-awaited Free Trade Agreement between India and Thailand has hit a slight bump as the two sides still disagree on key details, according to a senior Thai official.
Plan to seek higher farm crops quota
Thailand and Japan have agreed to talk further at an official level before formally revising the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement on the 10th anniversary of the pact, which came into effect in November 2007.
European body seeks changes to trade-related regulations
The European Association for Business and Commerce has urged Thailand to revise trade-related regulations

    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.