Japan-Thailand

The Japanese and Thai governments started exploring a possible bilateral FTA in 2001-2002, but official negotiations didn’t start until February 2004. They concluded their talks in April 2007 and the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (JTEPA) came into force on 1 November 2007.

The FTA is comprehensive, covering trade in goods and services, investment, intellectual property rights, agriculture, competition policy, etc.

It was strongly opposed by social movements both in Thailand and Japan. Thai groups mobilised against the FTA’s provisions on patenting life forms, toxic wastes and investment. One special concern was that the Japanese would take advantage of the deal not to ship Thai healthworkers to Japan (as under Japan’s FTAs with the Philippines and Indonesia) but to operate an exclusive health facility in Thailand, for Japanese people, who would be flown in to avail of the best medical personnel Thailand has to offer — who would then be unavailable to treat poorer Thai citizens. A major row also erupted around the legalities of Thailand’s interim military regime pushing through the ratification and entry into force of the deal during their hold on the country after the September 2006 coup. Japanese groups mobilised particularly on the potential of the deal to increase Japan’s exports of toxic waste to Thailand.

last update: May 2012


    Articles

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  • 16-Jan-2013 Trade on agenda for Yingluck’s meeting with Japanese prime minister
    Thailand will propose a boost in bilateral trade with Japan to US$100 billion by 2017 through closer cooperation via both government and the private sector.
  • 26-Jun-2011 Foreign restaurants eating into local action
    The Thailand Restaurant Association (TRA) warns that foreign food chains are posing a greater threat to Thai restaurant operators amid government indifference and failure to promote the local industry.
  • 21-Feb-2011 The Nation Japan advises Kingdom to boost labour force
    Thailand should produce about 700,000 skilled labourers to serve the investment influx from Japanese small and medium-sized enterprises after the ongoing revision in the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (Jtepa).
  • 23-Apr-2010 Time to make the most of trade with Japan
    The government should set up an agency to follow up the implementation of the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (JTEPA) in order to make it more effective, says the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI).
  • 29-May-2009 The Nation Asean-Japan FTA will enhance JTEPA
    The Asean-Japan Free-Trade Agreement will take effect for Thailand early next month, and the Kingdom will see enhanced benefits on top of its own bilateral trade pact, a senior commercial officer said yesterday.
  • 20-Sep-2008 Thanh Nien Trade pact with Japan to open door wider for Vietnamese exports
    A free trade agreement between Vietnam and Japan will bring new opportunities for Vietnamese products to enter the Japanese market thanks to lower tariffs, a senior official says.
  • 2-Nov-2007 AFP Japan-Thailand trade pact takes effect
    Japan and Thailand held their first meeting to implement a bilateral free trade pact, which took effect Thursday despite concerns among Thai workers.
  • 27-Oct-2007 Bangkok Post Activists want FTA with Japan nullified
    Activists opposing the Thai-Japanese free trade area (FTA) agreement yesterday filed a complaint with the Constitution Court, asking it to nullify the deal which they say is unconstitutional.
  • 12-Oct-2007 Bangkok Post NLA nod ’not needed for JTEPA’
    Thai Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram insisted the Thailand-Japan free trade agreement, signed by the Surayud administration, is in line with the 2007 constitution and it is not necessary for it to be endorsed by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA).
  • 3-Oct-2007 Bangkok Post Japan FTA all set for November
    The Thai and Japanese governments yesterday ironed out the last details before the free trade agreement takes effect on November 1. FTA Watch member Jacquechai Chomthongdi said the activist group would bring the case to the Constitutional Court as the new Thai constitution requires transparent consideration of all international treaties, including the trade deal signed with Japan.
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