Use of FTA perks, GSP declines in first 7 months

Use of FTA perks, GSP declines in first 7 months

The use of free trade agreement (FTA) privileges and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) by Thai exporters fell by 14.8% year-on-year in the first seven months of 2020, in line with the country's lower overall exports because of the pandemic.

The Foreign Trade Department said yesterday the use of privileges under FTAs and the GSP by exporters totalled US$35.4 billion between January and July.

The use of FTA privileges contributed $32.9 billion in the first seven months, down 15.9% year-on-year, while shipments under the GSP made up $2.54 billion, down 2.61%.

The top five export markets with the most use of FTA privileges were China, Asean, Japan, Australia and India.

The Thai-China FTA fetched the greatest value for the period, at $11.2 billion, followed by the Thai-Asean FTA, which accounted for $10.8 billion. Thai-Japan privileges were worth $3.89 billion.

The Thai-Australia and Thai-India FTAs stood at $3.42 billion and $1.78 billion, respectively.

The top five FTAs that saw the highest utilisation of privileges were Thai-Chile FTA (100%), Asean-China FTA (91.6%), Thai-Peru FTA (89.6%), Thai-Japan FTA (88.8%) and Asean-South Korea FTA (72%).

Thailand has 11 FTAs in place, excluding the Thailand-New Zealand FTA, which requires self-declaration for proof of origin, and the Asean-Hong Kong FTA, under which import tariffs on most of the products from Thailand were waived before the pact.

According to the Foreign Trade Department, the US retained the highest rate of GSP use, making up $2.24 billion, up 0.49%, followed by Switzerland ($200 million, up 29.2%), Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) ($84.6 million, up 4.92%) and Norway ($18.5 million, up 34.7%).

The GSP is used for trade with the US, Switzerland, Russia and the CIS, and Norway. Japan removed preferential tariffs for Thai products last year.

Products that saw the highest application of GSP privileges were rubber gloves, processed food, air conditioner parts, non-alcoholic drinks, citric acid and optical lenses.

Department director-general Keerati Rushchano said despite lower utilisation of FTA privileges, food, beverages and processed farm products remained strong.

"Thailand boasts high potential, both for production and exports, particularly of food, beverages and processed farm products," said Mr Keerati.

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