Bangkok Post - 22 June 2021
Public hearings to be held over Asean-Canada FTA
By Phusadee Arunmas
Thailand and Asean counterparts are set to rev up discussions with Canada to establish a scope of negotiations for an Asean-Canada free trade agreement (FTA), with the aim to kick off negotiations later this year.
Duangarthit Nidhi-u-tai, deputy director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, was recently assigned by the Trade Negotiations Department’s director-general, Auramon Supthaweethum, to attend the 13th Asean-Canada Senior Economic Official meeting (Seom-Canada) via video call between June 14-15 to discuss plans under the framework of the Asean-Canada FTA talks.
At the meeting, he said there was considerable progress made regarding the scope of Asean-Canada FTA negotiations as attendees all agreed there was an urgent need to find a solution as soon as possible so that they can have a proposal for the Asean-Canada Economic Ministers Meeting to be held in September this year.
Previously, the Asean Secretariat had studied the Asean-Canada FTA and found that Thailand’s GDP could increase by US$7.967 billion (about 254.944 billion baht), or a rise of 1.97% while Asean GDP would rise by $39.361 billion (1.259,552 trillion baht), an increase of 1.6%, according to Mr Duangarthit.
Meanwhile, the pact, if implemented, could boost Canada’s GDP by $5.104 billion (163.328 billion baht), an increase of 0.3%.
According to Mr Duangarthit, the Trade Negotiations Department will organise a webinar series through video conference to publicise the results of the study and open public hearings with all stakeholders on the establishment of the Asean-Canada FTA between June 22-29. Opinions made at the public hearings will benefit Thailand’s decision on whether to open the Asean-Canada FTA negotiations, he said.
Two-way trade between Thailand and Canada totalled $2.312 billion last year, up 0.53%. Of the total, exports from Thailand represented $1.544 billion, up 0.67%, while imports made up for $767.45 million, up 0.37%.
In the first four months of 2021, bilateral trade between Thailand and Canada edged up by 0.5% to $846 million, with exports from Thailand reaching $588 million, up by 0.69%.