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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 makes progress on FTA talks with Europe
Concrete progress is being made in negotiations between Thailand and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), with the talks focusing on the liberalization of trade in all commodities and services.
Thailand: Bilateral FTA deals pivotal to govt policy
The initiation of bilateral free-trade agreements with countries all around the world has become one of the foreign policy cornerstones of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s government.
Govt cautioned not to rush FTAs
Proponents and opponents of free-trade agreements stood firm Tuesday on their respective positions, while a government adviser warned against completing negotiations in haste.
ICC urges Thailand to go multilateral route
The international business community has called on Thailand to abandon its plans for bilateral deals and adopt instead the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) agenda of multilateral cooperation.
Thailand: Lobbyists needed to guard interests
Thailand needs more lobbyists in the capitals of its major trading partners to protect its interests in the context of global, regional and bilateral forces, a senior official in the Commerce Ministry has said.
Preferences, conflicts in the way of free trade pact with EU
The European Union and Thailand are unlikely to forge a free trade agreement (FTA) because the grouping is currently focusing on its 10 new members, business pundits said yesterday.
Thailand seen missing FTA deal deadlines
Thailand, the Asian country most aggressive in seeking free trade deals after Singapore, is likely to miss the deadlines for its free trade talks with many nations, including the United States and Japan, according to a senior Thai official.
Thailand: FTA talks planned with Chile
Thailand will hold talks on forming a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Chile on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) trade ministers meeting on June 4-5.
Trade agreements: Govt ups pressure to win new pacts
The government yesterday announced a proactive policy thrust to reach comprehensive free trade agreements with the United States of America, Japan and China.

    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.