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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


Thai-Indian FTA almost ready to sign
India and Thailand are likely to be able to sign the much anticipated free trade agreement within two or three months as most of the key issues have been resolved, says India’s commerce minister.
Deputy commerce minister ready to revise FTA agreements
Deputy Commerce Minister Wiroon Techapaiboon on Wednesday stated he was prepared to revise free trade area (FTA) agreements made with many countries to ensure that Thailand benefits most from them.
Ministry unit to sway public stance on FTAs
The Commerce Ministry yesterday said it was forming a special unit to improve the public’s understanding of free-trade agreements (FTAs) and why they should be signed.
Thailand-Myanmar investment protection agreement signed
Thailand and its neighbour Myanmar have signed an investment accord aimed at protecting Thai investors and boosting foreign stakes in the diplomatically-isolated country’s economy.
Key parties pledge to review all FTAs
Key political parties yesterday pledged to review free trade agreements (FTA) with Japan and other countries. Representatives of the Democrat and Matchimathipataya parties agreed that the FTA with Japan, formally the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (JTEPA), should be reviewed.
Delhi shifts aim to bigger ball
The much-hyped free trade area (FTA) negotiations between Thailand and India seem to be stalling, as the latter’s focus has shifted toward the much-bigger Asean-India FTA, a leading Thai negotiator says
India sees Thai free trade talks faltering
With India-Asean free-trade talks faltering, the Indian government said on Saturday it might have to get directly involved again to try to make the proposed India-Thailand free trade agreement (FTA) operational.
Only two FTA-affected companies received government financial aid
Only two of 11 manufacturers severely-affected by free trade area (FTA) agreements with other countries have received financial assistance from the Thai government after their operations were hit by the terms of the trade pacts, a senior Commerce Ministry official said.
Thai food exports to reach Bt600 billion
Thailand’s food exports are expected to increase by 7.8 per cent from last year to Bt600 billion this year and to further rise by 10 per cent next year due to the free trade area (FTA) agreements and an increased demand for products as a result of global warming, according to industry executives.
India FTA likely by December
India and Thailand plan to finally sign a free-trade agreement by the end of this year, which could bring an end to talks that have dragged on for years

    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.