Today (March 15, 2023), the EU and Thailand announced the relaunch of negotiations for an ambitious, modern and balanced free trade agreement (FTA), with sustainability at its core. This announcement confirms the key importance of the Indo-Pacific region for the EU trade agenda, paving the way for deeper trade ties with the second largest economy in South-East Asia and further strengthening the EU’s strategic engagement with this burgeoning region.
Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, said: “I warmly welcome the relaunch of our negotiations for a trade deal with Thailand – the second largest economy in the ASEAN region. A modern and dynamic FTA would lead to benefits for both sides, and strengthen EU trade ties with the Indo-Pacific region. It will boost the scale and sustainability of our trade, drive innovation and strengthen our supply chains. Open trade is one of the pillars of our Green Deal Industrial Plan, aiming to increase the EU’s global competitiveness. Pursuing important new deals such as this one will be crucial to its success and we aim to advance quickly with the negotiations.”
The EU and Thailand already have well-established trade relations, with clear potential for an even closer relationship: trade in goods was worth over EUR 42 billion in 2022, while trade in services was worth over €8 billion in 2020. The EU is Thailand’s 4th largest trade partner; and Thailand, the second largest economy in the ASEAN region, is the EU’s 4th most important trading partner in the region.
The EU and Thailand are committed to advancing swiftly in the FTA talks and aim to hold a first round of negotiations in the coming months. The EU text proposals will be published after the first negotiating round, in line with our exemplary transparency policy. The EU will also commission a Sustainability Impact Assessment in support of the negotiations, to carry out an analysis of the possible economic, environmental, human rights and social impacts of the agreement, and to provide recommendations on how to maximise the expected positive effects, whilst minimising potential negative ones.
You will find more details in our press release.