Thailand, Turkey hope for FTA by next year

Economy July 17, 2017 01:00

By The Nation

Thailand and Turkey are hopeful that their talks to forge a bilateral free trade agreement can be wrapped up at the end of next year.

Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn plans to visit Turkey on July 19 to meet that nation’s economics minister, Nihat Zeybekci. They would kick off the first round of trade talks over two days.

Turkey has a population of 80 million and welcomes approximately 30 million tourists yearly. With the 19th largest economy in the world, it is a member of the G20. 

The commerce ministry sees Turkey as a bridge to eastern Europe, the Balkan countries, and North Africa. In turn, Turkey can use Thailand as a springboard to tap into the Asean region.

The first negotiation round will focus on a possible frameฌwork for the trade agreement, an exchange of trade informaฌtion, and expectations of what they hope to achieve in followฌing negotiation rounds. The countries aim to wrap up talks by the end of 2018.

The value of bilateral trade value between Thailand and Turkey last year was US$1.37 billion (Bt46.27 billion), accounting for 0.33 per cent of Thailand’s total trade. Thailand has a trade surplus over Turkey of US$772.34 million. The value of Thailand’s exports to Turkey was US$1.071 billion, with imports valued at US$299.2 million.