Thailand ratifies RCEP pact

Thailand ratifies RCEP pact

Thailand has already submitted the ratification for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade pact and reaffirmed that the world's biggest free trade deal will come into force on Jan 1 next year as scheduled.

According to a source from the Commerce Ministry who requested anonymity, Thailand, through Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, submitted the ratification for RCEP on Oct 28 to the Asean Secretariat, ahead of the previous deadline set in November.

Parliament ratified the pact on Feb 9 this year.

The pact, signed by 15 countries last November, will come into effect 60 days after it is ratified by at least six Asean members and three other signatory countries.

Among the signatories, Singapore and China have completed ratification procedures.

The RCEP groups the 10 Asean states -- Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam -- as well as Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

Currently, five Asean members -- Singapore, Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand -- have submitted their ratifications of the pact.

"We strongly believe that the pact will come into force as scheduled, as Japan and China have already ratified the pact while Australia and New Zealand are about to ratify the pact sometime soon," said the source.

Trade Negotiations Department's director-general Auramon Supthaweethum said Thailand will benefit from RCEP in terms of a bigger market because RCEP is the world's largest trading and investment market, comprising 15 countries with a population of nearly 2.3 billion, with a total GDP of US$28.5 trillion in 2020.

The RCEP trade volume tallied over $10.7 trillion or 30.3% of global trade last year.

The Commerce Ministry estimated Thailand has a total of 39,366 items of goods that will benefit from the duty reduction, with 29,891 to enjoy zero tariffs in the first phase.

The rest are scheduled to see tariffs gradually reduced to zero in 10-20 years.

"Obvious benefits from the pact are exports, mostly related to a pledge from South Korea, Japan and China to reduce or abolish customs tariff collection on additional Thai shipments on top of those already offered under free trade agreements," she said.

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