Announcement on FTA talks with EU expected
Thailand will officially announce the start of free-trade negotiations with the European Union during Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's visit to Brussels and Sweden this week, ensuring that Thailand will maintain tariff benefits despite their expected discontinuation under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) in the near future.
Piramol Charoenpao, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, said yesterday that Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom was to meet with European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht to talk in detail about the bilateral free-trade negotiations.
"Thailand should get more benefits than losses from this FTA. It will ensure that Thai exports do not fall after the Kingdom loses the tax privileges from the EU's revision of its GSP by 2014," Piramol said.
She also said the Commerce Ministry had set up a working committee consisting of government, private-sector and civil-society representatives to consider issues of concern to prevent negative impacts on some sectors from an FTA.
In addition, during a meeting with the European Commission, Thailand was to request Geographical Indication status for two more products, Doi Chang and Doi Tung coffee, after the EU agreed to provide GI certification to Thai Hom Mali Thung Kula Rong Hai rice.
During the visit to Sweden by Yingluck and her delegation, Thailand will ask for closer cooperation from the Swedish government and private sector to promote trade and investment between the two countries. The cooperation would emphasise agriculture, energy and the environment, tourism, and health and elderly care.
Some giant Swedish companies have already invested in Thailand, such as Volvo, Electrolux, Ericsson and Ikea.
Yingluck is on a four-day official trip to Sweden and Belgium to hold talks on trade, investment and energy research. Yesterday she left Belgium for Sweden.