Two committees to work on Thai-EU FTA talks

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BANGKOK, Feb 18 – A joint meeting of the state and private sectors on Monday agreed to form two committees to plan a framework of Thailand European Union Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiation, said Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom.

Monday’s meeting of government officials and the Thai Chamber of Commerce took place on the eve of  Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s March 4-6 European visit when the Thai-EU FTA will get a go-ahead.

Mr Boonsong said the two committee, to be chaired by the commerce permanent-secretary, are an ad-hoc committee of state, private and social sectors responsible for exchanging information on the matter and the other committee to facilitate the private sector on trade.

The budget will be allocated from the export promotion fund.

He stressed that European economic problems will not negatively impact the FTA negotiations as it is believed that any problems will be resolved soon.

The minister also said he believes the FTA talks will be advantageous for Thailand as it will help offset the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), which will end at the end of 2014.

Meanwhile, Chairman Pongsak Assakul, Thai Chamber of Commerce said it is good that the state sector pay attention to the issue.

The private sector will hold a seminar on April 29 to gather stakeholder opinions on the free trade talks before further discussion with the state sector takes place.