Thailand, EU look to resume free trade talks by March

Thailand, EU look to resume free trade talks by March

Thailand and the European Union plan to re-launch free trade talks by the first quarter of 2023. (File photo: Bangkok Post)
Thailand and the European Union plan to re-launch free trade talks by the first quarter of 2023. (File photo: Bangkok Post)

Thailand and the European Union (EU) have agreed to restart negotiations over a free trade agreement, officials said on Thursday, nearly a decade after talks were stalled by a military coup in the Southeast Asian country.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said after a meeting in Brussels with the EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis that the two sides aim to re-launch talks within the first quarter of this year.

Dombrovskis said on Twitter: "Both sides want a comprehensive, high-quality agreement, with ambitious sustainability provisions".

The EU suspended trade negotiations with Thailand in 2014 after a military coup headed by Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha ousted the civilian government, saying it would keep the bilateral relations under review.

Southeast Asia's second-largest economy held general elections in 2019, after which the bloc broadened engagement again.

Thailand exports US$22.8 billion worth of goods to the EU, including auto parts, electrical equipment and agriculture products, government data shows, making the bloc its fourth-largest trading partner.

European Union trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis speaks to the press as he arrives for an Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) meeting at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on Jan 17, 2023. (Photo: AFP)


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