AEC tops agenda for ministers
Economic ministers from Asean countries will meet this weekend in Hanoi to ensure that the plan to liberalise the region under Asean Economic Community (AEC) will be achieved by 2015.
At the same meeting, they will also discuss plans to include Hong Kong in the Asean-China free-trade agreement.
The ministers will also speak to EU representatives at this event on the possibility of setting up an Asean-EU bilateral free trade agreement.
Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom confirmed that he will be leading a team of Thai officials to attend the 10th Asean Economic Ministerial (AEM) Retreat in Hanoi to finalise measures to ensure the AEC kick-off in December 2015, so the region can ensure growth under the framework.
The outcome of this meeting will be proposed at the AEC leaders' meeting in April. The discussion will include measures to cut tariff barriers, eliminate non-tariff barriers, as well as allow a free flow of human resources. Moreover, Asean economic ministers will also discuss the possibility of including Hong Kong in the Asean-China FTA and turning it into a complete pact covering trade, service and investment to promote trade growth in Asean and its six trading partners.
The 10 ministers will also meet with chief European Commissioner Karel De Gutch to help strengthen cooperation and discuss the possibility of negotiating a free-trade pact between EU and Asean in the future.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Trade Department is planning to talk the EU into ending its anti-dumping duty on Thai sweet corn. The department kicked off a series of meetings with EU officials yesterday and will continue until Friday. The EU has been levying duty since 2007, causing Thai sweet-corn exports to drop continuously.
Surasak Riangkrul, the department's deputy director-general, said the export of Thai sweet corn had been dropping since the duty was levied. Normally, the EU imported about 40,000-48,000 tonnes of sweet corn from Thailand, but last year the import dropped to just 23,905 tonnes.