All the versions of this article: [English] [français]
Bangkok Post - 20 November 2023
South Korea govt eyes EPA with Thailand
Talks are underway for South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy to enter an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Thailand, says Thai trade representative Nalinee Taveesin.
It expects to use the kingdom as a production base for their electric vehicles (EVs), she said.
Ms Nalinee held talks recently with Minister for Trade Ahn Deok Guen in South Korea’s capital.
Mr Ahn earlier met Thailand’s Deputy Commerce Minister Napintorn Srisunpang during the 2023 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit in San Francisco before arranging the meeting with her in Seoul, said Ms Nalinee.
The South Korean government was interested in the EPA because neither country has a plan to designate a free-trade area just yet. Both had, however, agreed on regional cooperation, namely the Asean-Korea Free Trade Agreement (AKFTA) and a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with a wide scope.
If both countries succeed in their EPA agreement, Ms Nalinee said it would help cutting import taxes, which will further lower trade obstacles.
Supply chains and goods transport would benefit from the EPA agreement, especially those related to the motor industry, she said.
Ms Nalinee said Korean-based car companies, such as Hyundai and Kia, are now looking for ways to expand their business in Thailand, including opening an EV production base in the kingdom.
Both countries plan parallel talks with the private sector while discussing the EPA agreement, she said.
Further talks on the EPA were also planned for the 13th Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meeting between Thailand and South Korea next year.
The JTC meeting aims at solving the trade obstacles, with the Commerce Ministry and South Korea’s Ministry for Trade leading the panel.