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Joint FTA study with Turkey nears completion

The Nation, Thailand

Joint FTA study with Turkey nears completion

By Petchanet Pratruangkrai

28 August 2013

Thailand and Turkey plan to finalise their joint study on a possible free-trade (FTA) agreement by early next year.

A joint working group on the matter met on August 13 and 14, after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra visited Turkey last month.

Piramol Charoenpao, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, said the two sides should be able to finalise the study on the FTA by late this year or early 2014 so that the negotiation process could be started soon.

The negotiations will cover terms of reference to liberalise trade in goods, solve non-tariff barriers, and set rules of origin as well as those covering sanitary and phytosanitary concerns, customs procedures and other issues.

Thailand and Turkey established a Joint Trade Committee way back in 1987, but no meeting was ever held. That should be rectified soon.

Turkey is an attractive market for Thailand as it has a preferential customs pact with the European Union. Turkey also has a population of 80 million and welcomes about 2.3 million foreign travellers a year.

Turkey ranks 40th among Thailand’s trading partners, and seventh in the Middle East region. Combined trade value between Thailand and Turkey was US$1.35 billion (Bt43.4 billion) last year. Thai exports were valued at $1.08 billion, and imports at $243.83 million.

In the first half of this year, bilateral trade rose 20.03 per cent to $831.29 million. Thai exports to Turkey increased 10.24 per cent to $625.09 million, while imports surged 64.26 per cent to $206.2 million.

Major export goods to Turkey are plastic pellets, automobiles and parts, rubber, air-conditioners and parts, yarn, computers and parts, rubber products, chemical products and refrigerators.