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Vietnam+ | 19 July 2021
Thailand pins high hope on FTAs to boost exports
Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand’s Commerce Ministry looks set to propose negotiation frameworks for the Thailand-EU free trade agreement (FTA) and ASEAN-Canada FTA for cabinet approval in the third quarter, aiming to boost the country’s exports.
Speaking after the Joint Public and Private Sector Consultative Committee on Commerce meeting last weekend, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said the negotiation framework for the Thailand-EU FTA is scheduled to go before the cabinet by late September, while that for the ASEAN-Canada FTA is likely to be submitted to the cabinet in August.
The government has been trying its best to accelerate talks on the FTAs, particularly the deal with the EU to boost exports, which are the only engine to boost the country’s economic growth this year, Jurin said.
Once the Thailand-EU FTA becomes effective, Thailand expects to enjoy trade and investment expansion because the EU is its fifth largest trading partner after ASEAN, China, Japan and the US.
In 2020, bilateral trade between Thailand and the EU totalled 33.1 billion USD, representing 7.56 percent of Thailand’s global trade. Thai exports to the EU totalled 17.6 billion USD last year.
According to Jurin, Thailand and ASEAN counterparts are also revving up discussions with Canada to establish a scope of negotiations for an ASEAN-Canada FTA.
Two-way trade between Thailand and Canada valued at 2.31 billion USD last year, up 0.53 percent. Of the total, exports from Thailand represented 1.54 billion USD, up 0.67 percent, while imports were 767 million USD.
Thailand also aims to conclude talks on a FTA with Pakistan by the end of this year, with the expectation that the pact, once implemented, will help boost economic growth by 0.18-0.32 percentage points, or about 200 – 800 million USD a year.
Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, said Thailand and Pakistan have held nine rounds of talks that have concluded 12 chapters of the agreement’s 13 chapters in total. The remaining issues pending negotiations include customs protocol, trade facilitation, as well as related regulations regarding market access.