EU agrees to let Thailand negotiate export quotas
The European Union (EU) has agreed to allow Thailand to negotiate its export quota for 31 products, said Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Department of Trade Negotations.
The request was lodged by Thai trade representatives in December last year.
"The negotiation will deal with the quotas for 31 items that Thailand was given before the EU and the United Kingdom began their Brexit negotiations," she said.
The products comprise nine poultry products, nine rice products, four sweet potato and cassava products, six processed fish and shrimp products, and three convenience food products, Ms Auramon said.
The negotiations are important because "in 2017 alone, the EU bought US$1.4 billion (about 44 billion baht) worth of these products," she said.
Thailand had also lodged a similar request to the UK. "In March, Thailand submitted a formal request for the right to receive export quotas for 30 products," Ms Auramon said.
The request lodged with UK trade representatives concerns export quotas for 10 poultry products, seven rice products, three sweet potato and cassava products, six processed fish and shrimp products, and four convenience food products.
"We have asked the UK to speed up its deliberation on our request for export quota negotiations for these 30 products." she said, before adding that in 2017, the total export value to the UK for these 30 items stood at US$627.6 million.
"We want to wrap up the negotiations -- both with the EU and the UK -- by September, as the UK is expected to leave the union in October," she said.
If Brexit deal is reached, Thailand will have some wriggle room because it means the EU and the UK will maintain their current trade policies until December 2020, she said.
"But if it ends with a 'Hard Brexit', the UK will have to set new tax rates and import quotas this October, she said.