Exporters improve FTA and GSP use

Exporters improve FTA and GSP use

Thai exporters have done a better job of using free trade agreement (FTA) privileges and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), with the Commerce Ministry expecting utilisation of the two schemes to top US$70.8 billion (2.31 trillion baht) at year-end, up 10% from last year.

Adul Chotinisakorn, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said the use of privileges under FTAs and GSP by Thai exporters amounted to $49.9 billion in the first eight months this year, up 19.1% from the same period last year. The utilisation rate for the period was equivalent to 74.6%.

Of the total values, FTA privilege use tallied $46.7 billion, up 19.8% from the first eight months last year, with shipments under GSP totalling $3.16 billion, an increase of 10.4%.

The highest volume of FTA use stemmed from the Asean FTA, which totalled $17.85 billion, while Asean-China tallied $11.89 billion, Thai-Australia $6.2 billion, Thai-Japan $4.99 billion and Asean-India $2.99 billion.

New Zealand was the only market for which utilisation contracted, Mr Adul said.

The trading partners with which Thailand used FTA privileges the most were Chile, Australia, China, Japan and South Korea. Product items that saw the highest privilege usage were trucks, rubber products, durian, cane sugar and petroleum.

Mr Adul said Thai exporters also made better use of GSP benefits, with the value of preference utilisation rising 3.6% in the first eight months to $2.85 billion.

The top five products for which GSP was used were air-conditioner parts, beverages, rubber gloves, processed food and motorcycles.

Thailand has 13 FTAs in place, including the Asean-Hong Kong FTA and an investment agreement scheduled to take effect in January 2019.

Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, said recently that Thai negotiators were revving up FTA talks with dialogue partners for the remaining months of the year and looked set to resume talks with the EU and join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a newly formed bloc of 11 Pacific Rim nations excluding the US, next year.

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