Thailand, Turkey FTA negotiation to kick-off next week

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2016-07-16 17:00:00 – Bangkok

Thailand and Turkey’s free-trade agreement negotiation set to kick off next week which have been postponed since January. Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn will lead the Thai negotiation team in Turkey on Tuesday to Thursday for the first round of talks. On Tuesday, Apiradi will be joined by Turkey's economic minister.

Sunanta Kangvalkulkij, deputy director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, who will be a chief negotiator for the FTA, said that the negotiations were delayed due to terrorist attacks in Turkey. Initially it was hoped negotiations would conclude at the end of the year.

Sunanta said that despite the delay, Thai and Turkish officials have continued to talk about the FTA unofficially to prepare the groundwork for official negotiations.

Under the FTA, Thailand and Turkey plan to immediately eliminate tariffs for 90 percent of trade in goods for both sides. Thailand is considered a gateway for Turkey to penetrate Asean, while Turkey could be a gateway for Thailand to tap Eastern Europe.

Major import goods from Turkey to Thailand include garments, yarn and fibre, machinery and parts while export products from Thailand to Turkey included polymers of ethylene, rubber.

A feasibility study for the FTA found that it would help increase Thai economic growth by 0.03 percent a year and be worth up to US$76.7 billion (Bt2.7 trillion). It was found that Thailand's exports would expand 0.02 percent and earn more by $33 million.

The two-way trade between Thailand and Turkey in 2014 accounted for 0.30 percent of the Kingdom's total trade. Bilateral trade was worth $1.37 billion, reported Commerce Ministry.

Trade between the two nations in the first five months of this year was $565.1 million, while Thai exports to Turkey were up 5.5 percent and were worth $454 million. Imports grew 28.9 percent to $110.8 million.

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