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Thailand to be left out of ASEAN FTA with S. Korea

The Nation, Bangkok

Thailand to be left out of ASEAN FTA with S. Korea

16 May 2006

Thailand will not be included in a free trade agreement to be signed between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)and South Korea this week, the Philippine trade secretary said Monday.

"Thailand had sought an understanding from South Korea but there are certain domestic requirements they need to go through and they are unable to participate in the signing," Trade Secretary Peter Favila said.

The Philippines is hosting a three-day meeting of ASEAN economic ministers in Manila after it was transferred from the resort island of Boracay over the week end due to a tropical storm.

"Thailand has been asking for sufficient time on certain domestic issues that they need to address," Favila said, adding that the rest of ASEAN would sign the free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea on Tuesday as scheduled.

"You may call it a 10-ASEAN members- minus one. However, there will be a signing, Favila said.. The omission of Thailand would not affect the implementation of the rest of the accord, he added.

Thailand would sign when it completes its "domestic requirements", he said.