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European Union

EU to revive free trade talks with Thailand

Free trade talks between Thailand and the EU started in 2013 but were put on hold after the 2014 military coup that ousted the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra.

Olivier Languepin

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The 14th Senior Officials’ Meeting between the European Union and Thailand took place in Brussels on 16 October 2019

Sasiwat Wongsinsawat, director general of the Thai foreign ministry’s department of European affairs, held talks in Brussels on Wednesday with top EU officials in charge of Asia.

“The meeting noted substantial progress made by Thailand on important matters such as fight against illegal fishing (IUU), labour issues and the prevention of human trafficking,” stated the official press release from the UE

A long but productive day in Brussels yesterday. We covered a lot of discussions on how to enhance our engagement going forward. Look forward to following up after I return to Thailand on Friday!

Pirkka Tapiola, EU ambassador to Thailand

Trade between the EU and Thailand is valued at about 38 billion euros (US$42 billion) in 2018, according to the European Commission.

The EU is Thailand’s third largest export market, with 22.9 billion EUR worth of Thai goods and services being sold to the bloc, mainly machinery and transportation equipment.

Part of the effort included preparations to sign a Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA), towards closer economic and political ties with Thailand and resuming trade negotiations with the Southeast Asia’s second largest economy.

Free trade talks between Thailand and the EU started in 2013 but were put on hold by the EU after the 2014 military coup that ousted the democratically elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra.

The EU decided to revive the trade talks after Thailand held a parliamentary election in March this year, and following the election of prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Asean as a whole represents the EU’s third-largest trading partner outside Europe, after the US and China, with more than €237.3 billion (US$263.9 billion) of trade in goods in 2018, according to latest available statistics.

According to an editorial published today by the SCMP, the resumption of talks comes as Thailand seeks to diversify its economy and reduce its reliance on China, which accounted for 14 per cent of the country’s total foreign direct investment in 2018.

But the official press release from the EU mentionned other topics like human rights issues, migration and environmental matters.

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