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

MOST VIEWED

  • CNRP supporters rally in the streets of Tokyo

    Supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Monday rallied on the streets of Tokyo, demanding Prime Minister Hun Sen’s resignation and urging the Japanese government to “save democracy in the Kingdom”. Some 400 protesters in the rally, which was organised by

  • GMAC makes EU plea to consider job losses

    In a statement set to be published on Monday, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) said the EU’s possible withdrawal of Cambodia’s Everything But Arms (EBA) access would harm 750,000 workers and three million families. The GMAC statement, seen by The Post on

  • Four dead in Preah Sihanouk, Ratanakkiri flooding

    At least four people have died and thousands of families affected by flooding in Preah Sihanouk and Ratanakkiri provinces following recent heavy thunderstorms. Preah Sihanouk provincial spokesperson Kheang Phearum said on Sunday that a Cambodian husband and wife were killed on Thursday when a concrete

  • Nat’l Police snubs Rainsy’s claims

    The National Police on Saturday maintained that its chief, Neth Savoeun, and his family had no intention to flee the country after acting president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Sam Rainsy accused Savoeun of corruption. On Friday, Rainsy – who fled to