More exporters now benefit from Thai, Asean FTAs
More Thai exporters are reaping the benefits of free-trade agreements, with overseas shipments under FTAs having increased 4.4 per cent in value last year, showing that liberalisation has paved the way for trade growth.
The Foreign Trade Department reported yesterday that exports under FTAs were worth US$41.7 billion (Bt1.24 trillion) last year, against $39.94 billion in 2011.
Exports with FTA privileges accounted for 47.3 per cent of the Kingdom's export value under the pacts, worth $88.13 billion in total last year.
Surasak Riangkrul, the department's deputy director-general, said the rising value of exports under the agreements showed that more exporters were becoming aware of FTA benefits.
"It is a good sign that exporters have learned to reap tariff privileges under the free-trade pacts. Companies should learn to utilise the export privileges so that they will have a level playing field," he said.
To gain more export privileges under the FTAs, Surasak urged enterprises to study carefully the rules of origin of each pact, as they differed among the country's various trading partners.
Manufacturers may need to adjust their production by using raw materials from trading partners to enjoy export privileges under an FTA, he said.
The official added that Thai exporters had benefited more from the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (Afta) than from any other FTA, with exports under the agreement reaching $14.79 billion last year.
More exporters are benefiting from AFTA as Thai exports to the ASEAN market continue to grow. ASEAN is rapidly becoming the country's largest export market, given the economic downturns in the United States and the European Union, Surasak said.
Among the other major free-trade pacts benefiting the Kingdom's exporters, the Asean-China FTA resulted in Thai exports worth $11.28 billion last year, while the Thailand-Japan economic partnership brought in sales of $6.25 billion, the Thailand-Australia FTA was worth $4.85 billion, and the Thailand-India FTA was worth $696 million.