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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: Status as regional leader in doubt
The inability of the government to function lessens the prospect of Thailand failing to get parliament’s approval of trade deals vital for ASEAN’s economic agenda. The country needs to get the legislature’s backing for 30 agreements, including an ASEAN-India free trade agreement and an ASEAN-South Korea free trade agreement.
Thailand and Peru plan FTA talks
Thailand and Peru are exploring a possible bilateral free trade pact as the Peruvian government would like to see see the surged trading between the two countries, according to Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat.
PM: Megaprojects will go on
Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat has told European Union delegates his government will solve Thailand’s political crisis through democratic means to ensure the country’s planned megaprojects can proceed.
Narongchai: Put pacts on a faster track
The government needs to address existing legal issues that impede international trade agreements, says Narongchai Akrasanee, a member of the cabinet’s economic advisory team.
CP adding feed plants in India
The Charoen Pokphand Group, Thailand’s largest agribusiness conglomerate, is preparing to expand in India by establishing two more animal feed plants.
Wiroon: Thai-Indian FTA set to expand
Thailand hopes to ratify a full free-trade agreement with India within this year if the political situations in the two countries don’t change, according to Deputy Commerce Minister Wiroon Techapaiboon.
Thailand-Peru FTA likely to take effect late this year
The free trade area agreement between Thailand and Peru is expected to become effective during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in November this year or early next year, according to an official of Thailand’s Trade Negotiations Department.
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.

    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.