Negotiations between Thailand and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) are advancing positively, and both sides have set their sights on finalising the discussions by the end of this year.
According to Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Department of Trade Negotiations, the third round of CEPA negotiations with the UAE, held between Aug 29 and Sept 1 in Dubai, have been positive.
The talks included meetings of the Trade Negotiating Committee led by the Thai side, represented by the director-general of the Department of Trade Negotiations, and the UAE side led by Juma Mohammed Al Kait, assistant undersecretary of Foreign Trade Affairs at the Ministry of the Economy, overseeing the overall negotiations.
Additionally, there were meetings of nine subcommittees covering trade in goods; rules of origin; customs procedures and trade facilitation; trade remedies; trade in services and digital trade; intellectual property; technical barriers to trade; sanitary and phytosanitary measures; and legal matters.
Thailand is set to host the fourth round of CEPA negotiations at the end of this month in Bangkok, aiming to conclude the talks within this year, as agreed by both parties.
Mrs Auramon said a study on the impact of the Thailand-UAE CEPA has found that the pact would help expand trade and investment between the two parties through market access, trade facilitation and the reduction and elimination of trade barriers.
Mrs Auramon, centre, says the third round of talks on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement were positive.
It is expected to significantly increase exports overall, ranging from US$190 to $243 million (roughly 6.65-8.5 billion baht).
Products expected to benefit include food, textiles, apparel, leather products, wood, rubber, plastics, chemicals, electrical and electronic appliances, and automobiles and parts. Additionally, the sectors expected to gain include transportation, finance and business services.
The UAE is Thailand's sixth largest trading partner globally and the top trading partner in the Middle East. In 2022, bilateral trade between Thailand and the UAE was valued at $20.4 billion.
In the first seven months of this year, two-way trade totalled $11.1 billion, with exports to the UAE valued at $1.81 billion and imports valued at $9.3 billion.
Key exports to the UAE include automobiles, air-conditioners and parts, jewellery, wood and wood products, rubber products, and canned and processed seafood, among others.
Key imports from the UAE include crude oil, refined oil, natural gas, metal scraps and products, gemstones, gold and chemicals.