Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thailand seeks restart of trade negotiations with EU

Thailand seeks restart of trade negotiations with EU

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Commerce Ministry’s Department of Trade Negotiations (DTN). The Nation (Thailand)/ANN

Thailand seeks restart of trade negotiations with EU

Thailand is ready to resume negotiations for a free-trade agreement (FTA) with the EU once the new government is established, as officials seek to offset the decline in global trade, according to a leading trade official.

Thai trade officials have been juggling for a negotiating slot with the EU, after talks for a Thai-EU FTA were halted back in 2014 following the military coup.

Thai and EU trade officials will meet today in Brussels, Belgium to discuss the possibility of revitalising the talks.

However, as Thailand is in the process of forming a new government, specific details related to a potential trade deal will not be discussed at the upcoming meeting, said Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Commerce Ministry’s Department of Trade Negotiations (DTN).

Thailand is preparing for official negotiations to begin in the second half of this year, she said.

Meanwhile, the ongoing US-China trade tensions have caused a slowdown and decline in global trade since mid-2018.

This was reflected in Thai-EU trade, which grew year-on-year by a mere six per cent last year compared to the 10.8 per cent growth in 2017. The trend came into sharp relief in the first quarter of this year, which saw Thai-EU trade decline of up to 11 per cent compared to the same period of last year.

In the first four months of this year, Thai-EU trade was valued at $13.4 billion, with Thai exports valuing at $7 billion and imports at $6 billion. This marked a significant decline in bilateral trade between the trade partners, which stood at $15.1 billion in the first quarter of last year.

Thai-EU trade will continue to decline in the second half of this year, with dim prospects in the next decades if the Kingdom is unable to swiftly act to negotiate a trade deal with the European bloc, warned Aat Pisanwanich, director of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce’s Centre for International Trade Studies (CITS).

“This is due to the fact that Vietnam, a key competitor of Thailand in terms of exports, has established an FTA with the EU that will become active in the third quarter of this year,” he said.

Vietnamese goods that compete with Thai goods, Aat said, such as electrical appliances, rice and fruit, will become even more competitive due to the lower tariffs in place after the FTA is activated.

This would reduce Thailand’s market share of goods in the EU and lead to long-term negative impacts on Thai exports unless a Thai-EU trade agreement is soon put in place.

Research from the CITS suggested that after the Vietnam-EU FTA kicks in, Vietnamese exports to the EU would increase from $50 billion to $70 billion annually.

This will reduce Thai exports by $20 billion in the second quarter of this year, and $40 billion in the next two years. THE NATION (THAILAND)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK


  • PM: All 10 Asean countries to receive Rainsy arrest warrants

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Thursday that all 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member states will receive warrants for the arrest of Sam Rainsy. The warrants have already been sent to Laos and Thailand. He was speaking at a joint press conference at

  • Human rights report biased, says Cambodia

    Cambodia has accused the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday of having “undermined the principle of objectivity”. In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the UN said the Office of the

  • Kingdom okays 2,400MW power purchase from Laos

    A cabinet meeting on Wednesday decided that the government will purchase 2,400MW of electricity from Laos. A briefing document uploaded by government spokesman Phay Siphan to his Facebook page confirmed this. It said Cambodia will buy exclusive power from two coal-fired power plants in Laos –

  • The need to establish research universities in Cambodia

    In an era of the globalisation and internationalisation of higher education, it is difficult, if not impossible, to disregard the regional and global trend toward building world-class universities. Many governments in Asia and Africa are making significant efforts to establish research-intensive universities to catch up