Thai cabinet approves ASEAN -Canada FTA framework

Pic: Josepalbert13 |

he Thai cabinet recently approved the negotiation framework for the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN)-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The pact is expected to help facilitate the expansion of trade and investment, reduce obstacles from tariffs and non-tariff barriers and promote the services sector between ASEAN members and Canada.

The negotiation framework covers trade, protection and remedy measures; rule of origin; customs procedures; trade facilitation, sanitary standards; practices on trade rules, services and investment; intellectual property, labour and environment protection; trade competition, state procurement; and the free movement of people.

Previously, the ASEAN Secretariat had studied the FTA and found that Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) could increase by $7.967 billion (about 254.944 billion baht), or a rise of 1.97 per cent while ASEAN GDP would rise by $39.361 billion, up by 1.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, the pact could boost Canada’s GDP by $5.104 billion (163.328 billion baht), an increase of 0.3 per cent, according to Thai media reports.

Two-way trade between Thailand and Canada totalled $2.31 billion last year, up by 0.53 per cent. Of the total, exports represented $1.54 billion, up 0.67 per cent, while imports stood at $767 million.

According to deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhanadirek, the FTA can create a linkage of Thailand’s supply chain to North America or a gateway to the regions that Thailand has yet to ink FTAs with.

Promising exports from Thailand include farm products and processed farm products, rubber products and machines.

Rachada noted the FTA may cause drastic competition for the farm, industry and service sectors, urging entrepreneurs to speed up upgrading their quality standards; intellectual property protection, online trading, labour rights and environmental protection.

Thailand currently has 13 FTAs in place with 18 nations.

In a separate development, the cabinet yesterday approved a framework of the country’s 13th national economic and social development plan, which spans 2023 to 2027.

The new plan aims to transform Thailand from natural resource-based industries towards a knowledge-based or high value-added economy that is environmentally friendly and upgrade the manufacturing sector to higher value-added industries such as the bio-, circular and green economic model.