Thailand, US work to renew GSP perks
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Thailand, US work to renew GSP perks

Mr Phumtham met with Mrs Raimondo yesterday to strengthen trade relations and highlight strategic partnerships.
Mr Phumtham met with Mrs Raimondo yesterday to strengthen trade relations and highlight strategic partnerships.

The US is ready to renew the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) scheme for Thailand that expired in 2020, says Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai.

Following a meeting with US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and an executive from the President's Export Council, Mr Phumtham said the talks provided a valuable opportunity to forge a strategic partnership and strengthen trade relations between the two countries.

Both sides addressed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) negotiations and how to best realise the pact's potential to deliver benefits to the US, Thailand, and other IPEF members through long-term economic cooperation envisioned under its supply chain agreement.

Thailand requested the US expedite renewal of the GSP scheme, which expired in 2020, to ensure Thai exporters and US importers continue to benefit from these privileges.

Mrs Raimondo expressed confidence in the Thai government and vowed to speed up the renewal of GSP privileges.

Thailand also requested the US consider removing the country from the watch list for intellectual property (IP) enforcement.

Thai officials said the country has made progress in improving IP protection and enforcement, working to seize counterfeit and pirated goods, including online, while enhancing cooperative measures among governmental agencies.

The US acknowledged Thailand's positive developments in this regard, said Mr Phumtham.

"This is the first time the two sides met after a hiatus of more than four years caused by the pandemic," he said.

"The meeting reflects the importance of the Thailand-US alliance and strategic partnership."

The commerce ministries of both nations are ready to cooperate, as well as the President's Export Council, on strengthening economic relations and promoting bilateral trade and investment, said Mr Phumtham.

He said the meeting provided an opportunity for Thailand to present its economic and trade policies, including soft power initiatives, schemes to reduce expenses and increase income for farmers, producers and consumers, and stimulus measures such as the digital wallet handout and promotion of small business exports.

These efforts aim to capitalise on utilising free trade agreements and amending laws and regulations that impede trade to enhance capabilities and business opportunities in the private sector, said Mr Phumtham.

Both sides highlighted the importance of supply chain development, with Thailand ready to partner with the US by being a production base for modern US industries such as digital, artificial intelligence, electronics, semiconductors, electric vehicles, clean energy, aviation and pharmaceuticals, he said.

The US government will support American firms investing in Thailand, said Mr Phumtham.

IPEF negotiations have made significant progress since starting in 2023, he said, with Thailand ready to cooperate with the US and IPEF partners to conclude negotiations on the first pillar -- fair trade.

The US is ready to drive economic cooperation under the pact, aiming to connect supply chains in the Indo-Pacific region, said Mr Phumtham.

In 2023, the US was Thailand's second-largest trade partner after China, with trade value totalling US$68.3 billion.

The US is Thailand's No.1 export market with a value of $48.9 billion.

Key exports include computers and computer parts, rubber products, telephone and telephone parts, semiconductors, transistors and diodes, and electric transformers and components.

The US is Thailand's third-largest import market, with import value of $19.5 billion.

Key imports include crude oil, machinery and components, electrical circuits, airplanes, gliders, aviation equipment and components.

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