Thailand works on FTA with European Free Trade Association hinh anh 1A cargo ship is docked at Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri. (Source: Bangkok Post)

Bangkok (VNA) - Thailand has kick-started efforts to forge a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), a regional trade bloc consisting of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, was quoted by local media as saying that after a seminar titled "EFTA New Market in New Normal", the department hired the Institute of Future Studies for Development to study the benefits and impact of a Thai-EFTA FTA.

Public hearings will be organised later to gather comments from all stakeholders, she said.

Negotiations between EFTA and Thailand were launched in October 2005. Two rounds were held, but talks have been on hold since 2006.

EFTA was Thailand's 16th biggest trading partner in 2019, with two-way trade amounting to 9.77 billion USD, down 2.22 percent from 2018. Exports from Thailand accounted for 5.67 billion USD, while imports were worth 4.1 billion USD.

In the first eight months of 2020, two-way trade volume amounted to 8.39 billion USD, up 11.5 percent from the same period of last year, with Thailand enjoying exports worth 7.05 billion USD, a rise of 52.3 percent year-on-year./.