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Thailand

FTAs became a big social and political issue in Thailand ever since former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra agreed, in 2003, to negotiate a comprehensive bilateral deal with the United States. A broad multisectoral coalition in Thailand, called FTA Watch, monitors and mobilises around Thailand’s FTA policies quite frequently, given the deep-cutting and far-reaching nature of these deals for Thai society.

Apart from the Thai-US talks, Thailand has signed a limited FTA with Laos (1991) and another with China (agriculture only, 2003), framework agreements with Bahrain (as stepping stone toward an FTA with the GCC, 2002), Peru (2003) and India (2003), and fairly comprehensive FTAs with Australia (2003), New Zealand (2005) and Japan (2007).

Since 2006 and the current political crisis, Thailand’s pace of FTA negotiations has slowed down. (The government is technically still in negotiation with the US, EFTA, India, Peru and Papua New Guinea, while there has been talk of further deals with Chile, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa and Canada.) Meanwhile, civil society groups have insisted that the new Thai constitution include a provision, in Section 190, that requires Parliamentary ratification and much more public information about all FTAs that the Thai cabinet considers going into.

Regionally, Thailand is member of ASEAN and therefore part of that bloc’s FTA dealings with China, Korea, India, Australia/New Zealand and the EU. It is also part of BIMSTEC and, under Thaksin at least, was the protagonist pushing for greater trade and investment integration in the Mekong region under ACMECS, a framework for cooperation between Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

last update: May 2012


Thailand, UK eying new trade deal
Thailand and the United Kingdom agree to increase their two-way trade and explore the possibility of creating a free trade agreement (FTA).
Thailand loses US free trade benefits worth billions of baht
Thailand loses duty free access for 42.2 billion baht in exports to the US market from today, unless the kingdom committed to labour rights reforms.
Thai firms explore investment avenues in Pakistan
Pakistan and Thailand will hold political consultations at the secretary level as well as organise meetings of the Joint Economic Commission to further bolster economic relations between the two nations.
Thailand eyes trade deal with UK
Brexit could pave the way for a free trade agreement between Thailand and the United Kingdom, says director-general of the trade negotiation department.
Cabinet lines up FTAs with Bangladesh, Turkey
Thailand and Bangladesh will kick off talks to establish a free trade agreement. The Thai cabinet has also approved a proposal to sign an FTA with Turkey.
Officials look to jump-start EFTA talks
The European Free Trade Association (Efta), a regional trade bloc and free trade area consisting of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, is keen to revive free trade agreement (FTA) talks with Thailand.
UK heads towards Brexit and Thailand ponders an FTA with Britain
Thailand is pondering the possibilities of creating a free trade agreement with the UK after British PM Boris Johnson’s victory in the UK election.
Govt eyes Hong Kong free trade deal
Thailand plans to sign a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Hong Kong, which will cover the service sector, including green finance and cyber security.
Australia still in the cold while NZ lands plum trade deal with China
Australian businesses in China have praised a New Zealand trade deal which overcomes prohibitive red tape and any unofficial go-slow at Chinese ports that can plague Australian exporters.
Somkid affirms interest in Hong Kong FTA talks
Despite the ongoing protests, Thailand remains confident about the potential of Hong Kong and is negotiating a bilateral free trade agreement with the autonomous territory.

    Links


  • FTA Watch (Thailand)
    A broad social coalition monitoring, analysing and mobilising around the Thai government’s FTA strategies.
  • Thai FTA
    A Thai government website, produced by the Department of Trade Negotiations, on Thailand’s different FTA negotiations.