Thailand plans to seek new FTAs to increase exports hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source: AFP/VNA)
Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand plans to seek more free trade agreements (FTAs) with countries in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America by the second half of this year, a move to expand new export markets.

Director-General of the Trade Negotiations Department Auramon Supthaweethum was quoted by local media as saying that the department expects the studies will take 6-12 months.

During the studies, she said public hearings will also be held, with all stakeholders allowed to voice their concerns.

According to Auramon, the studies on the new FTAs were proposed by the private sector at a recent meeting of a joint public-private committee chaired by Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit to increase exports.

Thailand has 14 FTAs with 18 countries and is a member of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which came into force early this year.

According to the Foreign Trade Department of Thailand, the use of FTA privileges by Thai exporters tallied 76.3 billion USD in 2021, the highest in six years. The utilisation rate of FTA privileges was equivalent to 78.2 percent last year, up from 76.5 percent in 2020.

The top five products using FTA privileges were trucks with a weight not exceeding five tonnes, fresh durian, passenger cars with 2,500cc engines, natural synthetic rubber products, and chicken meat and offal. The import value under FTA privileges in 2021 rose 28.5 percent to 44.9 billion USD.

Thailand’s export has recovered strongly in 2021 with growth of 17.1 percent. In the first two months of 2022, the increase was 12.2 percent to 44.74 billion USD. In the first quarter of this year, the country’s export revenue is forecast to expand 7-8 percent./.