Bangkok Post - 31 October 2020
EU set to resume FTA talks with Thailand
The European Union is ready to resume Thai-EU free trade agreement (FTA) talks as soon as possible, senior officials have insisted.
Director-General of the Department of European Affairs Sasiwat Wongsinsawat and the EU’s Deputy Managing Director for Asia and Pacific Department at the European External Action Service (EEAS) Paola Pampaloni on Wednesday co-chaired the 15th Thai-EU Senior Officials’ Meeting via video conference.
This year’s annual meeting discussed Covid-19 and its impact on the economy, as well as the political developments in Thailand, according to a statement released by the Department of European Affairs, with both parties also agreeing to strengthen ties by signing the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement by the end of next year.
The EU also confirmed its readiness to resume Thai-EU FTA talks as soon as possible. Relevant agencies will discuss the details at a meeting of a committee on trade and investment in December.
At the same time, Thailand and the EU voiced a desire for close and tangible cooperation including in the fight against Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing via the Asean Network on Combating IUU Fishing, and by setting up a Thai-EU Security Dialogue and promoting the protection of labourers via the Thai-EU Labour dialogue.
Moreover, the EU will discuss a voluntary agreement on combating illegal wood trading with the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade.
On connectivity, both sides agreed that it is no longer practical to depend only on governments to develop infrastructure and the forthcoming Asia-Europe Meeting will take up work on moving this agenda forward.