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EU and Thailand launch negotiations for Free Trade Agreement

EU News 118/2013

Brussels, 6 March 2013

On 6 March 2013, European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, and the Thai Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, launched negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the European Union and Thailand. EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht and the Thai Minister of Commerce Boonsong had met the day before to formally agree on the start of negotiations. The ambition is to conclude a comprehensive agreement covering tariffs, non-tariff barriers and other trade related issues, such as services, investment, procurement, regulatory issues, competition, and sustainable development.

The launch of FTA negotiations marks an important step in EU-Thai relations, already strengthened by a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. The first negotiating round is expected to take place before the summer break.

Thailand is the EU's third largest trading partner inside ASEAN and the EU is Thailand’s third largest trading partner, trade between them in 2012 reaching nearly €32 billion. The EU is also one of the largest investors in Thailand with investment stocks worth over €14 billion in 2011. The FTA with Thailand should deliver substantial economic gains and put the EU on par with partners who have already concluded FTAs with Thailand (China, India, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand).

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