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 Free Trade Area agreement that Thailand is negotiating with the US has implications on Thailand’s sovereignty and if the government bypasses the Parliament in the processing of finalising the agreement, it could be impeached, a veteran lawyer warned.
A leading academic says there is no reason why Thailand should offer terms of
intellectual property rights (IPR) protection beyond what’s available within the US legal framework.
Members of the opposition Democrat Party Sunday demanded the government to disclose the details of the proposed Thailand-US free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations, charging that Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had intentionally violated the constitution.
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday relegated the country’s parliamentary governance system to the back seat by saying that his administration did not have to seek prior parliamentary approval for free-trade agreements with foreign nations.
When United States negotiators fly into Thailand to thrash out a bilateral free trade deal, next week, they will be greeted with jeers rather than this country’s famed smile of welcome.
Services and financial sectors, left aside in early rounds of talks on a US-Thailand free trade agreement, will be put on the table during the sixth round next week, a Thai negotiator said on Friday.
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra defended the transparency of his administration in dealing with ongoing Thai-US free trade area (FTA) negotiations, and said that he was unworried that a group of senators plan to challenge the pact by charging that it violates the country’s constitution.
Civil society sector is demanding that the Thai government not give in on reduction of tariffs for US agricultural product, not ratify the treaty on plant varieties protection, and not recognise patenting of biological resources. In addition, they said the Thai government must resist the US demand to extend protection of pharmaceutical patent to more than 20 years or to protect data exclusivity.
An official from Thailand’s bilateral Free Trade Agreement negotiating team today disputed claims by opposition groups that a free trade agreement with the US would adversely affect the country’s prescription drug market.
The Senate committee on foreign affairs will petition the Constitutional Court on Tuesday to seek a review of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) proceedings, claiming they have contravened the constitution.
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.