EU and Thailand hold first round of negotiations for Free Trade Agreement (31/05/2013)

EU and Thai officials have just completed the first round of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement. Meeting in Brussels from 27-31 May, negotiators spent a week working through a heavy agenda. Issues discussed included trade in goods, rules of origin, intellectual property rights, customs and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, public procurement, animal and plant health standards, sustainable development, services and investment protection.

Negotiations were officially launched on 6 March 2013. Thailand is the EU's third largest trading partner inside ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) 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.

Thailand is the fourth ASEAN Member State with which the EU is holding FTA negotiations. Last December, the EU concluded a trade deal with Singapore, while negotiations with Malaysia and Vietnam are on-going. This trade negotiating agenda reflects the strong engagement of the EU in the ASEAN region. The ultimate objective is to negotiate a region-to-region agreement with ASEAN in the future.