The Commerce Ministry is gearing up to host the fourth round of talks for a free trade agreement (FTA) between Thailand and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Bangkok this week, with the aim of concluding the negotiation process as soon as possible.
Thailand is set to host the 4th round of negotiations for the Thai-UAE FTA, also known as the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), during Sept 26-28. The goal is to expedite negotiations in line with the government's policy to promote international trade cooperation, said Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Department of Trade Negotiations under the Commerce Ministry.
This round will involve meetings of trade negotiation committees as well as sub-committees focusing on five key areas: trade in goods; trade remedies; legal and institutional matters; rules of origin; and trade in services and digital trade.
Preliminary conclusions have already been reached by some of the sub-committees, such as customs procedures and trade facilitation, economic cooperation for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), intellectual property rights, investment, technical trade barriers, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.
According to Mrs Auramon, a preliminary study suggests that the establishment of the CEPA between Thailand and the UAE could lead to the expansion of Thai GDP ranging from US$318-357 million (11.1-12.4 billion baht) and an increase in overall exports by $190-243 million (6.65-8.5 billion baht).
This expansion is expected in various sectors, including food, textiles and apparel, products made from animal hides, wood, rubber, chemicals, electrical and electronic appliances, as well as automobiles and parts.
Additionally, it is anticipated that there will be increased transactions in key service sectors such as transportation, finance and business services.
The UAE currently ranks as Thailand's sixth largest trading partner globally and first in the Middle East. During the first seven months of this year, bilateral trade reached $11.1 billion, with Thailand exporting goods worth $1.81 billion to the UAE and importing goods valued at $9.3 billion from the UAE.
Key exports include autos and parts, air-conditioners and components, jewellery and gems, wood and wooden products, and rubber products. Significant imports from the UAE include crude oil, refined oil, natural gas, ores, metal scraps, gemstones, jewellery, and gold and silver bars.