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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


FTA Watch condemns bid to amend Article 190
Thai advocacy group FTA Watch yesterday issued a statement condemning attempts to end legislative scrutiny of negotiations concerning international trade agreements.
Thailand to sign FTA deal with Chile in October
Thailand is expected to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Chile during the Chilean president’s visit to the country in October.
Accord de libre-échange entre Suisse et Thaïlande
Yingluck Shinawatra, premier ministre de Thaïlande, effectue sa première visite officielle en Suisse. Cette rencontre doit se concrétiser notamment par la conclusion d’un accord de libre-échange.
Thailand mulls restoring FTA talks with Switzerland
The Thai government is considering to restore free trade agreement (FTA) talks with Switzerland, the second largest trading partner of the Thai economy in Europe.
Joint FTA study with Turkey nears completion
Thailand and Turkey plan to finalise their joint study on a possible free-trade (FTA) agreement by early next year.
Thailand: Ministry plans to cut time it takes to complete FTA
The Thai Commerce Ministry aims to speed up the time it takes to complete talks on free-trade agreements from the current average of two years.
India, Thailand want FTA ’at the earliest’
The prime ministers of both countries have directed their respective commerce ministers to work out the India-Thailand Free Trade Agreement (FTA) "at the earliest".
Germany, EU keen to clinch Thai FTA within two years: ambassador
Germany and the entire European Union are ready to provide maximum cooperation for conclusion of the Thai-EU free-trade agreement in two years’ time, for a win-win scenario for both parties, German Ambassador to Thailand Rolf Schulze said.
Thai-Chilean FTA wins parliamentary endorsement
Thailand’s Parliament yesterday endorsed the Thai-Chilean free trade agreement, which will take effect in the fourth quarter
FTA signing with EU ’should be priority’
The Thai-EU Business Council warned yesterday that Thailand would see its gross domestic product stunted by 1.2 per cent if it does not sign a free-trade agreement (FTA) by 2015 when the European Union’s tax breaks expire.

    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.