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
Sripai Noonsee was in despair after her latest attempt to find a job at an electronics factory at Bang Kadee Industrial Estate ended in failure like so many others. She has been jobless for many months.
The result of the US mid-year elections holds the key to whether the Thailand-US free-trade agreement (FTA) negotiations will continue or break down, according to Puangrat Asavapisit, Thailand’s permanent representative to the World Trade Organisation.
HIV/Aids groups claim that if Thailand signs a free-trade agreement (FTA) with the United States, the access to life-saving treatment for HIV positive people could be considerably compromised.
The impact of Thailand’s coup on negotiations on a free trade agreement with the United States wasn’t immediately clear, but Washington still hoped to secure a pact when democracy is restored, the top US trade official said on Wednesday.
Thailand is included in a group of 13 countries that may lose preferential tariffs when the US revamps its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program at the end of the year, US officials said yesterday.
Thailand’s current caretaker government has decided to leave new rounds of the Thai-US FTA talks to the new government after the next general election so that the parliament and the public can fully participate in the talks, according to the Thai foreign minister.
President of the US-Asean Business Council Matt Daley is to propose a continuation of bilateral trade talks between Thailand and the United States, despite the Kingdom’s political deadlock, when he meets caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripi-tak in Washington today.
It is believed that the US was behind the unexpected transfer of William Aldis, who published an article in the Bangkok Post on Jan 9, urging Thailand to think carefully before signing the Free Trade Agreement with the US, because restrictive intellectual property rights under the bilateral trade agreement would prevent Thailand from using affordable locally produced generic drugs. He said anti-viral HIV drugs would be extremely expensive after the FTA went into force. Local manufacturers are of the same view.
Allegations have surfaced that the Bush administration intervened earlier this year to arrange the transfer out of Thailand of a World Health Organisation representative who published comments critical of the proposed Thai-US free-trade agreement (FTA).
Public health officials working closely with the World Health Organisation yesterday vowed to continue their strong collaboration with the WHO despite widespread reports of possible interference by Washington in the international body’s administrative affairs. The US government was allegedly behind the abrupt removal of William Aldis, the WHO representative to Thailand, after he wrote of possible adverse impacts Thailand could suffer if it went ahead and signed a free trade agreement with the US in its present state.
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.