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
Thailand has lifted a three-year ban on planting genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by allowing the crops to grow in open-field trials with non-GMO plants.
Trade and consumers’ right activists who were at the forefront campaigning on FTA, called on the government to reveal all the terms and conditions of Tafta, voicing their grave concern that the local farm sector appear to be the losers while the winners are a handful of Thai big businessmen.
The government lied when it said it would exclude medicines from the list of products included under the prospective freetrade agreement between Thailand and the United States, a seminar was told yesterday.
Critics voiced doubt yesterday over Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s promise to provide equitable access to life-saving drugs for all people with HIV/Aids in Thailand, saying it was a pipe dream while disputes over patented drugs remain unresolved.
A leading senator and civic groups are planning to hold a demonstration today against what they call the government’s rush to conclude free-trade negotiations, which they say would have great ramifications on many people in the agricultural sector.
Thailand’s free-trade agreement (FTA) tactics are under fire for being opaque and shrouded in secrecy. Critics worry such methods are handing Thailand a poor deal, perhaps working to serve minority vested interests, and may even be undermining the informal social safety net provided by the country’s agriculture.
US trade negotiators are expected to raise the issue of Thai regulations on genetically modified organisms and domestic labour laws during bilateral free-trade talks.
We, the undersigned, farmers, people living with HIV/AIDS, academics, environmentalists, consumers, labor unionists, pro-democracy and anti-corruption activists and members of many non-governmental organizations that represent those who will be affected by the policies that are likely to come into force as a result of the proposed Free Trade Agreement between your government and the Royal Thai Government.
Opponents of free trade agreements will submit a letter to President George W Bush through the United States embassy today, urging Washington to halt ongoing trade negotiations between the two countries because the Thai process was not transparent without public participation and in violation of the Constitution.
Hundreds of Thai activists today demonstrated against free trade agreements (FTAs) the government is negotiating with the US and Australia, saying they would adversely affect millions of Thais.
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.