Thailand, EU to discuss Brexit, renewing FTA
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Thailand, EU to discuss Brexit, renewing FTA

Thailand is scheduled to discuss with the EU the impact of Brexit as well as revive Thai-EU free trade agreement (FTA) talks at the 14th meeting Thailand–EU working group set for June 14.

Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, said she will act as negotiator in discussions with Peter Berz, acting director for trade with Asia and Latin America at the European Commission. The meeting is scheduled for Brussels, Belgium on June 14.

The issues include the impact of Brexit, the world's economic situation, reform of the World Trade Organization, and an attempt to revive the long-stalled negotiations on a Thai-EU FTA.

Initially, Thailand would exchange data with EU representatives to prepare for the FTA talks once a new government is in place, said Mrs Auramon.

She said the meeting will also find ways to promote bilateral trade and investment and tackle existing obstacles.

"As Thailand and the EU are in the process of forming new governments after elections, the working group will not discuss details of an FTA," said Mrs Auramon. "The focus is on exchanging data to pave the way for future talks."

The EU is Thailand's third largest trade partner. Two-way trade rose 6.51% to US$47.3 billion in 2018, making for 9.4% of total trade volume. Thai exports represented $25.0 billion, up 5.15% from a year before, with imports up 8.07% to $22.3 billion.

Important export items include computers and components, automobile and parts, gems and jewellery, electrical circuits, rubber products, air conditioners and parts, and processed chicken. Key imports include machines and parts, aeroplanes, gliders and parts, chemical products, medical supplies and medicines, electrical devices and parts, diamonds and precious stones.

Earlier, the Commerce Ministry's Trade Policy and Strategy Office estimated the impact of Brexit on Thai exports to Britain and EU members was unclear.

In the short term, the agency said Thai shipments are unlikely to face a drastic impact.

But in the long term, the impact is inevitable, and Thailand must step up bilateral trade talks both with EU and Britain to curb the Brexit impact, the agency suggested.

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