Hanoi (VNA) – Thailand’s Cabinet on November 9 approved the negotiation framework for the ASEAN-Canada free trade agreement (FTA), hoping the pact will help open a gateway for Thailand to enter North America.

According to Rachada Dhanadirek, deputy government spokeswoman, the pact is expected to help facilitate the expansion of trade and investment, reduce obstacles from tariffs and non-tariff barriers as well as promote the services sector between members of ASEAN and Canada.

The negotiation framework covers trade, protection and remedy measures; rule of origin; customs procedures; trade facilitation, sanitary standards; practices on trade rules, services and investment; intellectual property, labour and environment protection; trade competition, state procurement; and the free movement of people, Bangkok Post reported.

Previously, the ASEAN Secretariat had studied the ASEAN-Canada FTA and found that Thailand's GDP could increase by 7.967 billion USD, or a rise of 1.97 percent while ASEAN GDP would rise by 39.361 billion USD, up 1.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the pact could boost Canada's GDP by 5.104 billion USD, an increase of 0.3 percent.

Two-way trade between Thailand and Canada totalled 2.31 billion USD last year, up 0.53 percent. Of the total, exports represented 1.54 billion USD, up 0.67 percent, while imports stood at 767 million USD.

According to Rachada, the ASEAN-Canada FTA may cause drastic competition for the farm, industry and service sectors, urging businesses to speed up upgrading their quality standards; intellectual property protection, online trading, labour rights and environmental protection./.