Thailand aims for 80% global trade coverage with new FTAs by 2027

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Thailand is aiming to expand its free trade agreements (FTAs) to cover 80% of its global trade with over 50 countries by 2027, according to Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department. The department is exploring the feasibility of establishing new FTAs with various countries and trade blocs, including Israel, Bhutan, South Korea, the Pacific Alliance, the Southern African Customs Union, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

The private sector has also expressed interest in forming an FTA between Thailand and the Mercosur trade bloc in South America, which comprises Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Thailand currently has 14 FTAs in place with 18 countries, accounting for 60.9% of its total trade. In 2022, trade between Thailand and its FTA partners reached US$360 billion, a 5.1% increase from the previous year.

Auramon stated that the goal for this year is to conclude negotiations for the Thai-UAE FTA, while in 2023, Thailand plans to finalise negotiations for three additional FTAs: Thai-Sri Lanka, Thai-European Free Trade Association, and Thai-Turkey agreements. Negotiations for a Thai-EU FTA are expected to conclude by 2025.

In addition to FTAs, some countries are seeking to establish strategic partnership agreements with Thailand, focusing on targeted trade agreements in specific sectors. Australia, which already has an FTA with Thailand, is looking to deepen cooperation in areas such as agriculture, tourism, services, healthcare, education, energy, and digital. The details of an agreement between Australia and Thailand are expected to be finalised this year.

Furthermore, Thai-UK FTA negotiations are progressing through a Joint Economic and Trade Committee, which plans to hold a meeting in the fourth quarter to promote trade and investment opportunities in sectors of mutual interest, including agriculture, food and beverages, technology, and financial services. The UK is also considering the establishment of an economic partnership agreement with Thailand as a foundation for future FTA negotiations, reports Bangkok Post.

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