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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
Photo: FTA Watch


Trade pact with Pakistan nears completion
Thailand aims to conclude talks on a free trade agreement (FTA) with Pakistan by the end of this year.
Thailand pins high hope on FTAs to boost exports
Thailand’s Commerce Ministry looks set to propose negotiation frameworks for the Thailand-EU free trade agreement and ASEAN-Canada FTA for cabinet approval in the third quarter, aiming to boost the country’s exports.
Ministry ready for more mini-FTAs
Thailand aims to clinch deals to form deeper trade partnerships through "mini-FTAs" with Hainan, China and Telangana, India.
Thailand, Kofu city sign trade agreement
Thailand is scheduled to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) today to form a deeper trade partnership through a "mini-FTA" with Kofu city in central Japan.
Queries raised over FTA plan
A planned bilateral free trade deal between Thailand and Hong Kong may hit a snag as people have suggested Thailand make the best use of Hong Kong as a gateway for trade with China and promote bilateral economic partnerships both for the public and private sectors of the two parties.
Thai-UK pact sets stage for agreement negotiations
Thailand and the UK plan to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up a Joint Trade Committee on Commerce and Economic Cooperation, paving the way for a future free trade agreement (FTA) after Brexit.
Thailand proposes virtual talks for FTA with Pakistan
Thai envoy proposed to virtually restart long-stalled talks on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Pakistan, pending since 2015.
Thailand’s export to China expanded under the BRI
China’s interconnectivity strategy under the Belt and Road Initiative enables Thailand to better exert the agreement on market opening under the framework of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area.
Thailand’s trade agenda may be complicated and thwarted by raised tensions in the Indo Pacific
The loss of India from the RCEP pact is a bitter blow to Thailand which had been looking forward to becoming a partner with India’s technology sector which is also very close to that of the United States.
Thailand hopes to sign free trade deal with Bangladesh soon: Outgoing Thai envoy
Thailand hopes to sign a free trade agreement with Bangladesh soon, outgoing Thai Ambassador to Bangladesh has said.

    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.