Thailand, European Union to resume FTA talks

25, Sep. 2019

BANGKOK,VNA - Thailand’s Commerce Ministry has said it is ready to revise long-delayed free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with the European Union (EU) and has scheduled public hearings nationwide before proceeding with proposals of the talks for cabinet approval by November.

Local media on September 24 quoted Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, as saying the ministry will gather all public opinions and relevant studies for policymakers to decide whether to resume the bilateral trade talks.

According to Auramon, the EU is a large potential market with a population of 512 million. It is also Thailand’s fourth largest trading partner and second biggest investor.

Two-way trade reached 47.3 billion USD in 2018, with Thai exports accounting for 25 billion USD.

FTA negotiations between Thailand and the EU have been delayed since the 2014 coup in Thailand.

The EU pursued trade negotiations with other ASEAN nations and has signed FTAs with Singapore and Vietnam.

Recently, EU Ambassador to Thailand Pirkka Tapiola told Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak that the bloc is ready to resume FTA negotiations with Thailand. Both sides also agreed to resume FTA negotiations between ASEAN and the EU.

Tapiola said the negotiations will commence after the EU settles on a new European Commission next month.

Somkid said the EU has shown interest in taking a greater role in trade and investment in ASEAN and is keen to join the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

EU investors also expressed intentions to use the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) as a production base for exports to other countries in the region, he added. - VNA