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New government urged to accelerate opening of FTA with Japan

MCOT News, Thailand

New government urged to accelerate opening of FTA with Japan

26 June 2006

BANGKOK, June 26 (TNA) - The new government should rush to go ahead with the opening of the planned free trade area (FTA) with Japan before Thailand loses markets to trading rivals, according to a top executive of the textile and garment industry.

Tienchai Mahasiri, Advisor to the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI)’s Textile and Garment Industry Club, said on Sunday that Japan pays more attention to importing textiles and garments from Thailand since Tokyo does not want to only count on imports of the products from China.

Currently, China has up to 90% market share of textiles and garments in Japan.

He said Japan is confident of the production quality in Thailand and has invested a lot in the country for long.

What it is waiting to facilitate the imports is the opening of the FTA with Thailand.

Mr. Tienchai said the Thai private sector wants to see the FTA be implemented soon because it could encourage trading partners and importers to buy more Thai products.

“The Thai-Japanese FTA agreement will not only help increase the product sale, but also result in an investment base shifting from Japan to Thailand and a technology transfer," he noted.

“As a result, we want to see the acceleration of the implementation of the proposed Thai-Japanese FTA Agreement before the country loses markets to other rivals. The new government, no matter which party it comes from, should follow up the matter,” he proposed.

At present, there is a wrong understanding that Thailand will lose an advantage from the FTA agreement.

In contrast, he said, the planned FTA pact would provide the country with more trade and investment opportunities.

Whether Thailand would benefit from the agreement depends, however, on negotiation capability of the working committee concerned, said Mr. Tienchai. (TNA)