Thailand set to sign Asean-S Korea free trade pact

25-NOV-2008 Intellasia |

Thailand set to sign Asean-S Korea free trade pact

Thailand is ready to sign the Asean-South Korea free trade agreement at the Asean Summit in Chiang Mai next month if the plan wins endorsement from Parliament today.

According to Noppadon Sarawasi, deputy director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, the agreement is likely to be the only free trade deal Thailand could achieve this year.

Thailand has been engaged in talks about its role in other free trade agreements under the Asean framework including Asean-India, Asean-Australia, and Asean-New Zealand.

Noppadon said those agreements were unlikely to be signed within this year.

Asean and Seoul began FTA talks in December, 2005. All Asean members except Thailand signed the agreement on trade in goods and agreement on dispute settlement mechanism in May 2006 and it took effect two months later.

Thailand had declined to sign the Asean-Korea FTA over differences in Seoul’s treatment of some agricultural products, particularly rice and livestock.

After almost a year of negotiations, Thailand concluded the talks with Seoul under the Asean-Korea free trade agreement (AKFTA) last December after Seoul allowed an extension for import tariff reductions on Thai goods from 2010-12 to 2016-17.

Thai items given extensions for tax cuts and/or waivers include steel and steel products, cosmetics, raw hides, tanned leather and leather goods. Other products that would benefit from Seoul’s pledged tariff cuts include electrical appliances, particle board, plywood, cane molasses, yarn, frozen shrimp, tapioca starch and squid.

South Korea is Thailand’s eighth-largest trade partner, with bilateral trade value of nearly US$7 billion.

According to Noppadon, the Commerce Ministry would also seek approval from Parliament today on a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) for three professions — physicians, dentists and accountants — allowing personnel in those three careers to work freely in Asean.

Official signing is anticipated at the Asean Summit from December 15-18 if MPs approve the proposal, he said.

Chutima Bunyapraphasara, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, said the Asean Trade in Goods Agreement (Atiga) and the Asean Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA) were also scheduled to be signed at the Asean Summit in December.

Atiga is an amendment to the Asean Free Trade Area Common Effective Preferential Tariff (Afta Cept) scheme, while ACIA is also an improvement over two existing ones — the Asean Investment Area (AIA) and Asean Investment Guarantee Agreements (IGA).

Afta Cept focused on tariff reduction or elimination for trade in goods. Atiga comprises both tariff and non-tariff elements, including trade discipline on sanitary and phytosanitary measures, customs procedures and trade facilitation, among others. The refinements are part of the effort to create a broader Asean Economic Community by 2015.


Comment on this article


  • Thailand set to sign Asean-S Korea free trade pact14-December-2009 | lebinh

    can you sen the form ak signed for me now?

    Reply to this message