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Thailand firm on positive list

Bangkok Post

Thailand firm on positive list

22 June 2005

Thailand insists that it will negotiate a bilateral free-trade area agreement with the United States only through a ``positive list’’ approach.

Officials yesterday also agreed that discussions about financial sector liberalisation must be in line with existing regulatory plans for the development of the capital market, insurance, securities and banking sectors.

Pongpanu Svetarunvra, the deputy director-general of the Fiscal Policy Office, said officials agreed that a positive list approach would be used for the negotiations.

The US has indicated that it wants to use a ``negative list’’ approach, under which all sectors are considered to be included under the liberalisation schedules save for goods and services explicitly listed in the agreement.

Thailand, however, wants to use an opposite approach, where only those goods and services listed are covered under the new framework.

The US has also stated financial sector liberalisation must be included within the talks, a position that has raised concern among local bankers and economists.

Thai officials will travel to the US to hold talks on the FTA on July 11-12.