The US and Thailand started negotiations on a comprehensive bilateral free trade agreement in June 2004.
Like other recent bilateral free trade agreements with the US, the US-Thailand FTA will cover investment, services, government procurement, intellectual property, as well as agriculture. Many expect it to be modeled on the US-Singapore FTA.
The negotiations have attracted strong opposition and concern among many Thai social movements, farmers to people with HIV/AIDS. A broad civil society coalition, FTA Watch, was formed at the outset to closely monitor the process from a public interest perspective. (Likewise, business interests set up their own US-Thai FTA Coalition.) Under the banner of "sovereignty not for sale!", key issues of popular concern include access to medicine, GMOs in agriculture and patents on life.
The last round of talks took place in Chiang Mai in January 2006 with 10,000 people protesting in the streets and disrupting the meeting. Negotiations have not resumed since.
last update: May 2012
The fourth round of trade negotiations between Thailand and its single largest trading partner, the United States, is not expected to yield any significant outcome, although both parties hope the talks starting today will help the two better understand each other and bring them closer to solving respective concerns.
Financial sector liberalisation is a sensitive subject for the talks. US authorities have insisted that no FTA agreement can be negotiated without it. Thai authorities have been reluctant to make any commitments on opening up the banking, insurance, asset management or securities sectors.
After tiptoeing around the issue for months, Thailand’s trade negotiators will have to finally reveal where they stand on the life-or-death question of producing cheap, generic anti-AIDS drugs.
Thailand insists that it will negotiate a bilateral free-trade area agreement with the United States only through a ``positive list’’ approach.
After letting health advocates air their opposition to the Thai-US free trade agreement (FTA) for more than a year, the Public Health Ministry yesterday unveiled its position on how Thailand should deal with drug patents.
Doctors have been warned not to fall into the fierce marketing trap of multinational drug companies which have a ’’hidden agenda’’ to sell expensive products.
Farm advocates, intellectual property rights experts and farmers groups yesterday called on the government to postpone the upcoming round of free trade negotiations with the United States that would focus on intellectual property rights (IP) to avoid the impact on farmers.
The US still hopes to conclude a long-awaited U.S.-Thailand free trade agreement despite a number of unsettled issues, including the liberalization of the Thai financial sector, US Ambassador to Thailand Ralph Boyce said Friday.
Financial-sector liberalisation could undermine efforts to negotiate a Thailand-US free-trade area agreement, according to Finance Ministry officials.
Local operators in the financial sector have voiced opposition to the financial liberalization between the United States and Thailand, saying that they would be put at disadvantage since the US financial services are more advanced than Thailand’s.
A US campaign website on the Thai-US FTA
A coalition of activists, lawyers, NGOs, social movements and labour groups monitoring the US-Thailand FTA negotiations.