Thailand to host public forum on EU-Thai Free Trade Agreement

Thailand’s Trade Negotiations Department will host a public forum today for comments on a proposed EU-Thai Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

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Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand

Thailand’s Trade Negotiations Department will host a public forum today for comments on a proposed EU-Thai Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Bilateral trade negotiations between Brussels and Bangkok began in 2013 but halted as a result of the 2014 Thai military coup. The EU restarted talks after the formation of a new government following the 2019 elections. With $45 billion in bilateral trade in 2018 alone, the EU is Thailand’s third largest trade partner and Brussels views Thailand as a critical trade relationship to develop.

Today’s timely forum will provide input on whether Thailand is ready to reactivate FTA negotiations. Data has suggested that reducing tariffs through a Thai-EU FTA would increase bilateral trade by 3.4% for both partners, leading to a 1.6% higher Thai GDP. With exports, most which are manufactured goods, down 23% from last year and a government budget deficit of $15 billion, military-backed Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha needs a trade victory to bolster support from Thailand’s business sector. Consequentially, consider it likely that both sides will move quickly to sign a deal, thereby expanding Brussels’ portfolio of bilateral trade agreements in Southeast Asia.

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