The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce advises its government to speed up talks with Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) members. (Photo: asean.org) 

Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand should actively join negotiations on free trade deals to offset the prospect of protectionism in global trade, according to the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).

The university advised its government to speed up talks with Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) members and seek to resume negotiations for a free trade agreement with the United States, Thailand’s top trade partner.

A UTCC study found that the value of Thai exports to the US could increase by 17.24 billion THB a year under US President Trump’s policies.

“With the US economy expected to grow by 0.8 percent under Trump’s economic stimulus package, Thai shipments to the US could increase by an average of 17.24 THB billion a year”, Aat Pisanwanich, director of the UTCC’s Centre for International Trade Studies, was quoted by The Nation, a Bangkok-based daily newspaper, as saying.

“But it does not take into account risk factors about the certainty in oil prices and exchange rates, which could affect the export value, while rising non-tariff barriers could affect long-term trade growth to the US”, he added.

On the other hand, Thai trade with China could shrink under the impact of higher tariff and non-tariff barriers as Trump stated he would impose import tariffs of up to 45 percent against Chinese goods, the study suggested.

Under such a policy, Chinese exports to the US could drop by 1.7 trillion THB, or 11.4 percent.

This would harm Thailand as China is a major export market for Thai products. With the Chinese yuan expected to rise in response to US pressure, this could also affect Thai exports.

If the yuan strengthens by five percent, the value of exports to China could fall by 7.5 billion THB. If the Chinese currency gains 10 percent, export value could drop by 10.45 billion THB.-VNA