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US-Thailand

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: Top FTA official throws in the towel
Nit Pibulsongkram is to resign as head of the Thai team negotiating a free-trade agreement with the United States because of the tremendous political pressure weighing on him, according to a source at Government House.
US-Thai FTA: Shin Corp deal could affect FTA talks
The Shinawatra family’s reported plan to sell off its stake in Shin Corp Plc to Singapore’s Temasek Holdings might complicate the Thai-US free trade talks and stall negotiations.
Central bank chief wants FTA openness
Bank of Thailand (BOT) Governor M.R. Pridiyathorn Devakula said he felt the mounting opposition to a free trade area (FTA) was due to the lack of an explanation to the public in a concrete manner.
Thai side floundering in FTA talks
More than anything, this week’s trade talks and the howls of opposition they’ve provoked have spotlighted the starkly different approaches taken by Thai and US negotiators.
Thai FTA in trouble: US could abandon talks after six rounds
The United States could abandon free trade talks with Thailand unless Bangkok agrees to redouble efforts to reach an agreement in the next few months, a US trade negotiator Barbara Weisel said. In a telephone call with US reporters, Weisel said it was uncertain the two sides would have another round.
FTA Watch: Movement ‘is gaining strength’
The fiery protest that disrupted free-trade talks between Thailand and the United States in Chiang Mai last week was just the first victory for a movement that is gaining strength, says a key organiser of FTA Watch.
Thailand and US equally tough on insurance talks in FTA
Talks to open up market access for the insurance sector within the framework of the Thai-US Free Trade Area (FTA) agreement ended here today with the only agreement - that each side would scrutinise the other’s list of demand for further consultations.
Tough going on services, agriculture in Thai-US free talks
Thai and United States negotiators have failed to make any headway towards a pact on liberalising trade in services under the broader Thai-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations, according to Thai industry observers.
Overdrive: FTA debacle reveals PM’s declining fortunes
Like the stalled privatisation of Egat Plc, the Thai-US Free-Trade Agreement talks look like dead meat. It all boils down to the waning credibility of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
FTA finance talks with US: BOT baulks at three-year time frame
After the sixth round of free-trade negotiations with the United States drew to a close yesterday, the Bank of Thailand said that Bangkok would continue to push for a gradual opening of its financial sector rather than within three years as the US has proposed.