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Ministry unit to sway public stance on FTAs

The Nation, Thailand

Ministry unit to sway public stance on FTAs

By Petchanet Pratruangkrai

9 April 2008

The Commerce Ministry yesterday said it was forming a special unit to improve the public’s understanding of free-trade agreements (FTAs) and why they should be signed.

It noted that Thailand is now moving to concentrate more on bilateral trade pacts to liberalise trade.

Deputy Commerce Minister Viroon Tejapaiboon said the government would focus on the need to educate people about FTAs.

This would ensure all parties involved would reap big rewards from such agreements.

The new unit will also track the results after each pact is signed and seek solutions to rectify any outstanding issues.

Viroon said the government would cooperate with universities nationwide to provide international trade courses to boost people’s knowledge about specific issues.

He said the government would revise all trade pacts in the pipeline, including those with northern Europe, India, the United States and Peru, to ensure maximum benefits are exacted for the Kingdom.

Thailand has concluded FTAs with China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and India that cover 82 products. The pact with Peru is awaiting final signatures.

The country is now negotiating free trade with Bahrain, the US and northern Europe.

It is also negotiating another two pacts under the Asean framework with India and the European Union.