Thailand hosts key ASEAN-Canada trade talks in Bangkok

Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

Thailand has taken significant steps forward in trade relations by hosting the eighth round of ASEAN-Canada Free Trade Agreement (ACAFTA) negotiations in Bangkok between yesterday and today. The meeting aimed to expedite various aspects of the agreement, to conclude discussions by 2025.

Chotima Iamsawatigul, Director-General of the Department of Trade Negotiations, appointed Ratchawit Piyapramote, Deputy Director-General of the same department, to lead the Thai delegation.

The discussions focused on advancing negotiations across several working groups, with particular emphasis on key unresolved issues. These included market access for goods, the recognition of documents related to rules of origin, and the structure and scope of chapters on trade in services and investment.

“We have made substantial progress in this round by accelerating the discussions of the working groups and pushing forward on critical pending matters.”

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The negotiation also stressed the importance of sustainable development topics, including labour, environment, and inclusive trade, which will be integrated into this FTA.

In addition to the trade talks, the meeting highlighted the importance of technical assistance activities to enhance ASEAN’s negotiation capabilities. Recently, support was provided to compile trade data and transition tariff codes to HS2022, enabling CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam) countries to meet their deadlines.

The committee also reviewed plans for the remaining eight negotiation rounds, aiming to finalise the agreement by 2025. This FTA marks Thailand’s first trade deal with a North American country, particularly with Canada, which is a high-potential market known for its strong purchasing power, advanced industries, skilled workforce, and expertise in clean energy. The agreement is expected to expand trade and investment opportunities and enhance Thailand’s potential.

Profits

Over the past three months, ASEAN-Canada trade amounted to US$6,930 million (approximately 218 billion baht), a 0.14% increase from the same period the previous year. Canadian exports to ASEAN reached US$1,450 million, up 15.33%, while imports from ASEAN totalled US$5,480 million, up 26.48%. Key exports include electronic components, nuclear reactors, and apparel, while major imports consist of grains, nuclear reactors, and fertilisers.

Canada is Thailand’s 30th largest trading partner. In the first quarter of 2024, trade between Thailand and Canada reached US$769.33 million, a 5.95% increase from the same period last year, reported KhaoSod.

Thailand’s exports to Canada were valued at US$512.39 million, up 7.76%, and imports from Canada stood at US$257.49 million, up 2.51%. Significant exports included steel and steel products, canned and processed seafood, and rice. Major imports comprised plants and plant products, electronic circuits, and paper pulp and waste paper.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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