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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’s new FTAs and its trade policies post-Asia crisis: an assessment
How credible is Thailand’s FTA policy? What can be done to improve it?
Free trade, but not fair trade
Early results of the free trade agreements (FTAs) Thailand made with China, Australia, New Zealand and India are quite worrying for the country.
Chile next in line for FTA
Thailand and Chile have agreed to conduct a joint study on a potential free-trade agreement (FTA) in order to establish bilateral access to regional markets.
Financial institutions urged to resist seizure by foreign investors
Local financial institutions need to adjust themselves to resist possible business seizure by foreign investors in a wake of the liberalization of trade with many countries in the world, according to a top banker.
Thailand’s bilateral trade pacts face mixed reception
Thailand has been aggressively negotiating bilateral and regional trade agreements in the face of the uncertainty over whether the WTO will reach a deal on liberalizing global trade. But the agreements fail to live up to expectations of increased trade and investment.
India’s Tata to set up truck plant in Thailand: Thai official
Tata Motors was in the process of setting up a pick-up truck manufacturing plant in Thailand, from where it could access the ASEAN and the Chinese markets through the Free Trade Area (FTA) treaties, a top Thailand trade representative said here.
Free trade agreement: impact in Thailand
This booklet by FTA Watch is aimed at disseminating information to international civil society for the purpose of sharing the analyses and experience of the FTA struggle in Thailand.
Battle to make free trade fair
The political leaders of Thailand and Japan met last week in Tokyo to clear away some hurdles in the important negotiations for a bilateral Free Trade Agreement. This FTA, like others recently signed and vaunted by the government, is slightly misnamed because they do not even aim at actual, laissez-faire commerce.
Thai focus on ASEAN trade
Thailand intends to focus more on increasing regional trade links since bilateral deals with the US and European nations may take years to complete, according to Thai officials.
Trade office to urge FTA pact with Morocco
The Office of the Thai Trade Representatives (TTR) is to propose a free trade pact between Thailand and Morocco to open the door for more trade and investment between Thailand and African countries.

    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.