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Thai-EU free trade talks continue

Bangkok Post - 26 June 2024

Thai-EU free trade talks continue
By Phusadee Arunmas

The third round of free trade negotiations for a Thailand-European Union (EU) agreement recently finished, with the fourth round scheduled to be hosted by Thailand on Nov 4.

Chotima Iemsawasdikul, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, said the third round of negotiations on a Thailand-EU free trade agreement (FTA) took place June 17-21 in Brussels, Belgium.

Discussions covered a full range of areas under the scope of the future agreement, with 20 negotiating groups meeting during the week, she said.

A schedule was set for all groups in terms of upcoming activities, including data and opinion exchange, additional draft discussions, as well as interim negotiations.

These activities are to prepare for the most significant progress at the fourth round of negotiations scheduled to be held on Nov 4 in Bangkok, said Ms Chotima.

The department plans to invite stakeholders to a meeting to update them on progress in the negotiations and outline plans for future negotiation meetings.

The government has prioritised the Thai-EU FTA, aiming to increase Thailand’s trade opportunities in the EU market, which has high purchasing power as the world’s third-largest economy with 27 member countries. The Thai administration also wants to attract investment from the EU and other regions.

She said stubborn issues that require clarification include government procurement, competition and subsidies, trade and sustainable development, and energy and raw materials. Discussions will focus on these issues to lay the groundwork for further engagement in the next round, said Ms Chotima.

In 2023, the EU was Thailand’s fifth-largest trading partner after Asean, China, the US and Japan, with total Thai-EU bilateral trade amounting to US$41.6 billion, up 1.43% year-on-year.

Last year, Thailand’s exports to the EU totalled $21.8 billion, down by 4.21%, while imports from the EU were valued at copy9.8 billion, up by 8.50%.

For the first five months of this year, trade tallied copy8 billion, up by 1.58% year-on-year.

Thai shipments to the EU rose 3.75%, reaching $9.8 billion, while imports from the EU were valued at $8.2 billion, down by 0.92%.

Thai products expected to benefit from a Thai-EU FTA include food and processed food products, automobiles and auto parts, garments, electrical appliances and electronics, rubber gloves, eyeglass lens, and gems and jewellery.

 source: Bangkok Post