The Thai government has officially endorsed the effort to establish a free trade agreement between Thailand and the European Union.

The move is expected to pave the way for both sides to officially negotiate terms for a trade deal.

Members of the Cabinet recently approved a proposal to pursue the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) establishment between Thailand and the European Union, as disclosed by Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit.

Minister Jurin said Thailand would inform Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice President of the European Commission for An Economy that Works for People, of the decision.

Formal negotiations will be allowed to take place only when this proposal receives approval from the 27-EU-member states.

Jurin said the FTA is highly anticipated by the private sector, adding that Thailand now aims to start the negotiation process in Q1 2023.

Thailand currently has 14 active FTAs with 18 countries, with the proposed Thailand-EU FTA to increase the number of countries the kingdom can freely trade with to 45.

The EU meanwhile currently has active FTAs with two ASEAN members, namely Vietnam and Singapore. The proposed Thailand-EU FTA would make Thailand the third ASEAN country to share a free trade agreement with the European bloc.

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