Already worth more than $200 billion a year, Thailand’s exports are set to grow even further over the next three years thanks to new bilateral free-trade agreements and the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community, a Commerce Ministry official told Pattaya-area exporters.
Speaking at a Nov. 22 seminar at the Montien Hotel in Pattaya, Waritchanan Towongphaiyont, an economist with the ministry’s Bureau of Trade, said agreements with Peru, India and across the Association of Southeast Asia Nations region will open new markets for a growing number of Thai products.
Waritchanan Towongphaiyont (3rd right), an economist with the Commerce Ministry Bureau of Trade, poses for a commemorative photo with other members of her economic committee.
The Thailand-Peru Free Trade Agreement takes effect Dec. 31, reducing duties to zero on more than 3,800 Thai products. The success of the agreement, she said, depends on knowledge and understanding of trade rights and rules, especially rules of origin standards, which will determine if the Thai products can be transshipped into the larger market in the United States.
Peru’s economy, Waritchanan said, is considered especially good, with top exports including fishing equipment and minerals. The FTA, she said, will push for free trade and trade support, services, investment and facilities to increase convenience in transportation of products and services.
Likewise, the trade agreement in force with India is also set to expand, as both sides have expanded the number of items covered from just 82 in 2005 to all products now.
Therefore, officials expect an increase in opportunities in marketing and creating an advantage for Thai products, particularly seeds, cosmetics, jewelry, furniture, auto parts and tires.
The biggest gains, however, will come in 2015 from the AEC and ASEAN’s side agreements with six other nations.
ASEAN eliminated duties on Jan. 1 in preparation for the launch of the AEC. Side agreements with China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand are also in the final stages.