Thailand urges US to restore GSP to give trade protection

Picture courtesy of Bangkok Post

Thailand is accelerating discussions with the United States, aiming to reinstate the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and eliminate its place on the intellectual property assets watch list. The kingdom is urging the US to expedite the restoration of the GSP programme, which concluded in 2020, to safeguard the benefits of Thai exporters and US importers and give protection to international trade.

Rachavitch Piyapramote, the deputy director-general of the Department of Trade Negotiations, spearheaded the Thai delegation for a meeting with senior officials at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in Washington. Sarah Bianchi, Deputy USTR, chaired the gathering.

Rachavitch explained that the meeting presented a golden opportunity to reinvigorate the trade relations between both countries following a standstill of over four years due to the pandemic.

The US office informed the Department of Trade Negotiations that they are in the process of proposing legislation to the US Congress to reintroduce the GSP programme. The renewal of the trade programme might come with possible alterations or inclusions related to labour protection, environmental standards, human rights, legal principles and anti-corruption measures, considering the significant global changes and the Biden administration’s focus on labour protection and environmental issues, reported Bangkok Post.

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Thailand has also requested the US to consider withdrawing the country from the watch list for intellectual property (IP) assets. The nation says it has significantly progressed in IP protection over the past year and plans to fortify these strategies in the coming two years. The US has recognised Thailand’s positive advancements in this context, as reported by Rachavitch.

The meeting also involved deliberations on boosting cooperation to address the issue of third countries surreptitiously claiming the origin of goods from Thailand to dodge the US anti-evasion measures. Certain countries may deceitfully label products intended for trade as Thai-originated to bypass anti-dumping duties and labour protection standards.

The US has recognised Thailand’s initiatives to enhance labour protection standards via legislative improvements. Both parties have agreed to continue sharing experiences on this matter, as per Rachavitch.

Based on data from the Commerce Ministry, trade between Thailand and the US in the first seven months of this year totalled to US$38.7 billion, marking a 1.6% year-on-year increase. Exports accounted for US$26.9 billion, while imports were valued at US$11.8 billion.

Primary exports comprised computers and computer parts, rubber products, and telecommunications equipment, while chief imports involved crude oil, machinery and components, and chemicals.

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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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