Thailand is revving up talks with the US in an effort to renew the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and remove the country from the watch list for intellectual property assets.
Rachavitch Piyapramote, deputy director-general of the Department of Trade Negotiations, was appointed by director-general Auramon Supthaweethum to lead the Thai delegation to attend a meeting of senior officials under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement on Sept 6 at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in Washington.
Deputy USTR Sarah Bianchi presided at the meeting.
According to Mr Rachavitch, this meeting was a valuable opportunity to strengthen trade relations between the two countries after a hiatus of more than four years caused by the pandemic.
Thailand requested the US expedite the renewal of the GSP programme, which expired in 2020, to ensure Thai exporters and US importers continue to benefit from these privileges.
He said the US office notified the Department of Trade Negotiations it is in the process of proposing legislation to renew the GSP programme to the US Congress and there may be potential adjustments or additions to conditions related to labour protection, environmental standards, human rights, legal principles and anti-corruption measures as part of the renewal.
There have been significant global changes and the Biden administration is emphasising labour protection and environmental issues, said the department.
Thailand also requested the US consider removing the country from the watch list for intellectual property (IP) assets.
Thailand claims it has made notable advancements in IP protection over the past year and plans to strengthen these strategies over the next two years.
The US acknowledged Thailand's positive developments in this regard, according to Mr Rachavitch.
There was also a discussion about enhancing cooperation to address third countries covertly claiming an origin of goods from Thailand in an attempt to avoid US anti-circumvention measures.
Some countries may falsely label goods as originating from Thailand to circumvent anti-dumping duties and labour protection standards.
The US acknowledged Thailand's efforts to elevate labour protection standards through legislative improvements, with both sides agreeing to continue exchanging experiences on this issue, said Mr Rachavitch.
According to Commerce Ministry data, for the first seven months of this year, trade between Thailand and the US amounted to US$38.7 billion, up by 1.6% year-on-year. Of the total, exports represented $26.9 billion and imports were worth $11.8 billion.
Key exports included computers and computer parts, rubber products, and telecommunications equipment.
Key imports included crude oil, machinery and components, and chemicals.