’Negative list’ approach seen for US talks

Bangkok Post, 13 October 2005

’Negative list’ approach seenfor US talks

WICHIT CHANTANUSORNSIRI

Thai negotiators could ultimately be forced to accept a ’’negative list’’ approach in negotiating the Thailand-US free trade area agreement, according to Pongpanu Svetarunvra, deputy director-general of the Fiscal Policy Office. Under a negative list approach, all sectors and services will be liberalised except for those explicitly stated in the agreement. The US has insisted that such a method be used in the trade negotiations.

Thai officials, however, have sought to adopt a positive list approach, where only those sectors and services listed in the agreement will be liberalised.

Mr Pongpanu said that if a negative list approach was taken for financial services, the Finance Ministry would have to stipulate exceptions and conditions regarding the pace and scope of liberalisation in the agreement before the next scheduled round of talks take place in London next month.

The Finance Ministry and the Bank of Thailand plan to meet shortly to discuss a framework for financial services liberalisation to be used under the Thailand-US FTA talks.

Mr Pongpanu said US financial institutions seeking to operate in Thailand would still be required to seek regulatory approval from the central bank or the Securities and Exchange Commission under any new trade treaty.

source: Bangkok Post