May 30, 2014 00:00 By Petchanet Pratruangkrai
More exporters are reaping the benefits of free-trade agreements, with overseas shipments under FTAs increasing 1.2 per cent in value last quarter, showing that liberalisation has paved the way for trade growth, the Commerce Ministry says.
“It’s a good sign that exporters have learned to cash in on the tariff privileges under the free-trade pacts. Companies should learn to avail of the export privileges so that they will have a more level playing field from free-trade pacts,” Surasak Riangkrul, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said yesterday.
The department reported that exports under FTAs were worth US$12.5 billion in the first quarter of the year. Exports with FTA privileges accounted for 70.9 per cent of all exports under FTAs in the quarter , which were worth $17.74 billion.
The rising value of exports under the agreements showed that more exporters were becoming aware of FTA benefits.
More exporters have taken advantage of the Asean FTA, which cuts duties for most products to zero. Businesses have also been helped to use self-certification to comply with rules of origin.
To gain more export privileges under the FTAs, enterprises should study carefully the rules of origin of each pact, as they vary among the country’s trading partners, Surasak said.
Exports under trade pacts last quarter reached $1.71 billion or 97.9 per cent with Australia, $3.5 billion or 89.13 per cent with China, $524.68 million or 72.5 per cent with South Korea, $1.5 billion or 72.4 per cent with Japan, $645 million or 62.0 per cent with India, $4.6 billion or 58.4 per cent with Asean, $1.62 million or only 7.6 per cent with Peru and $14.21 million or 6.4 per cent with New Zealand.