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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


China to replace US as Thailand’s main export market this year
The surge in Thai exports to China is attributed to China’s strong economic growth and the implementation of the China-ASEAN free trade agreement on January 1
CP urges firms to tap low tariffs under trade pacts
Thai entrepreneurs need to make the best use of tariff cuts under free trade agreements, says Charoen Pokphand Group, Thailand’s leading agricultural conglomerate.
FTAs to have minor impact
Thailand will not gain much from free trade agreements because of minimal exports between the agreeing parties, says Sethaput Suthiwart-narueput, an executive vice-president of Siam Commercial Bank.
Government plans safeguards for farmers
Thai authorities are taking precautions to shield businesses and farmers from the fall in farm product prices after tariffs are cut under the Asean Free Trade Area (Afta) at the start of 2010.
Nigeria & Thailand negotiate bilateral trade agreement for rice production
Recently the Thai Commerce Minister visited Nigeria were he discussed the proposal of a Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement — primarily involving agricultural development — with the Nigerian Minister for Commerce and Industry.
Exporters urged to benefit from 2nd wave of FTA tariff elimination
Another 12,500 products falling under free-trade agreements with five trading partners will be subject to zero tariff rates come January in the second phase of import-duty reduction.
Milk farmers plead for help before FTA
The Milk For Thai Club forecasts dairy farming will be hit hard if the government does not seriously help farmers before signing free trade area (FTA) agreements on dairy products with Australia and other countries.
Thailand, Indonesia to sign fishery, food, auto pact by 1st half
Commerce ministers of Thailand and Indonesia on Saturday agreed to launch a bilateral trade agreement on economic cooperation
Crucial ASEAN bills pass in rowdy house session
Thai lawmakers yesterday approved a total of 41 crucial Asean agreements after a stormy House session was suspended twice due to heated debates. Among the pacts were free-trade agreements between Asean and India, China and Australia & New Zealand.
Crisis may lead to more non-tariff barriers
Many of Thailand’s trading partners are expected to implement non-tariff barriers this year to shield their markets from a flood of imports as a looming global recession prompts governments to negotiate free-trade pacts.

    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.