EU Free Trade Agreement talks resume after 7-year coup hiatus

FILE PHOTO: Thailand and the EU resume talks delayed 7 years for a Free Trade Agreement.

After a 7-year delay following Thailand’s military coup, talks have resumed to create a Free Trade Agreement between Thailand and the European Union. The Ministry of Commerce hosted a meeting this morning between Thailand’s Commerce Minister, also a Deputy Prime Minister, and the Ambassador of the European Union to Thailand.

The two met to have conversations about a variety of issues, with a focus on an analysis of the possibility of resuming Free Trade Agreement discussions in the near future. A trade agreement could be a huge win for Thailand as the 27 countries of the EU are after only ASEAN, China, Japan, and the United States as Thailand’s fifth-largest trade partners.

The talks aimed to create new opportunities and facilitate their implementation for trade between businesses in Thailand and the EU. Last year, about 1.03 trillion baht worth of trading moved hands between the 2 regions with Thailand importing about 486.8 billion baht from the EU and exporting about 545.9 billion baht to the EU.

These figures represent about 7.56% of Thailand’s total global trade values, making the potential in a Free Trade Agreement apparent. And as the world economies are recovering from the long-term effects of the Covid-19 global pandemic, these numbers are already increasing.

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From January to the end of April, total trade grew by nearly 11% compared to the first 4 months of 2020. In total, the EU and Thailand traded a total of 388.3 billion baht worth of goods, with the EU importing 169.8 billion baht from Thailand. That’s a nearly 3% increase over figures from January to April 2020. Exports to the EU from Thailand though saw 218.4 billion baht in goods, just shy of 18% growth.

Thailand exports goods like computers, autos, motorbikes, air conditioners, machinery, electrical appliances, and components of all those products. They also export rubber, lenses, circuit boards, gems, and jewellery.

Conversely, Thailand imports from the EU products like machinery and electronics, chemicals, pharmaceutical, medical and scientific supplies, aircraft, and automotives.

The confirmation of a Free Trade Agreement between Thailand and the European Union would be a great stride to benefit Thailand’s import and export sectors. The original talks for the agreement were started in March of 2013 but were sidelined and then delayed indefinitely following the political unrest and overthrow of Thailand’s government in 2014.

SOURCE: Thailand Business News

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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