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Thailand

FTAs became a big social and political issue in Thailand ever since former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra agreed, in 2003, to negotiate a comprehensive bilateral deal with the United States. A broad multisectoral coalition in Thailand, called FTA Watch, monitors and mobilises around Thailand’s FTA policies quite frequently, given the deep-cutting and far-reaching nature of these deals for Thai society.

Apart from the Thai-US talks, Thailand has signed a limited FTA with Laos (1991) and another with China (agriculture only, 2003), framework agreements with Bahrain (as stepping stone toward an FTA with the GCC, 2002), Peru (2003) and India (2003), and fairly comprehensive FTAs with Australia (2003), New Zealand (2005) and Japan (2007).

Since 2006 and the current political crisis, Thailand’s pace of FTA negotiations has slowed down. (The government is technically still in negotiation with the US, EFTA, India, Peru and Papua New Guinea, while there has been talk of further deals with Chile, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa and Canada.) Meanwhile, civil society groups have insisted that the new Thai constitution include a provision, in Section 190, that requires Parliamentary ratification and much more public information about all FTAs that the Thai cabinet considers going into.

Regionally, Thailand is member of ASEAN and therefore part of that bloc’s FTA dealings with China, Korea, India, Australia/New Zealand and the EU. It is also part of BIMSTEC and, under Thaksin at least, was the protagonist pushing for greater trade and investment integration in the Mekong region under ACMECS, a framework for cooperation between Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

last update: May 2012
Photo: FTA Watch


EFTA and Thailand accelerate free trade talks
Thailand and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) are ramping up efforts to reach a free trade agreement (FTA).
Thailand expects free trade agreement with EFTA in 2 years
The Commerce Ministry expects to reach a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) members within two years after negotiations were launched last week.
Renewed negotiations with Efta to start soon
Thailand is scheduled to announce the start of negotiations with the European Free Trade Association (Efta) to improve trade, services and investments.
Thailand to join talks on US-led Indo-Pacific framework
This decision to engage in negotiations is not a commitment by Thailand to join the final arrangement, the government said.
Bhutan and Thailand to have bilateral trade
The government of Bhutan and Thailand agreed to sign a bilateral trade agreement. The two countries have a trade and economic cooperation agreement as of now.
Thailand mulls more FTAs to expand export markets
Thailand is scheduled to study free trade agreements (FTAs) with countries in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America by the second half of this year, a move to expand new export markets.
Thailand ups trade ties with Telangana
Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding to form deeper trade partnerships through a so-called mini free trade agreement (mini-FTA) with Telangana state in southern India.
Efta free-trade talks edge closer
The Commerce Ministry will seek cabinet endorsement for a proposed negotiation framework for a free-trade agreement (FTA) with the European Free Trade Association (Efta) following a recent public hearing on the matter.
Dhaka, Bangkok working on sealing FTA
Thailand and Bangladesh are working closely to ink a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), the country’s envoy said during a meeting with Bangladeshi business leaders.
Thai envoy stresses FTA critical to balance bilateral trade
Trade between Pakistan and Thailand could be balanced if the government of Pakistan tackles the hurdles efficiently, particularly the delay in signing a free trade agreement (FTA), said acting Thailand Consul General Paoyee Waesahmae.

    Links


  • FTA Watch (Thailand)
    A broad social coalition monitoring, analysing and mobilising around the Thai government’s FTA strategies.
  • Thai FTA
    A Thai government website, produced by the Department of Trade Negotiations, on Thailand’s different FTA negotiations.