InfoQuest, (April 17, 2019) -- Ms. Onmon Subthawitham, director-general of the Department of Trade Negotiations (DTN) of the Ministry of Commerce of Thailand, revealed that the 5th round of Thailand-Turkey FTA Free Trade Agreement negotiation held in Ankara, capital of the Republic of Turkey on April 10-12, 2019 proceeded smoothly. Especially, progress was made in the following issues: drafting articles of agreement on trade in goods, customs formalities, trade facilitation measures, hygienic measures, and procedures of business disputes resolution.
The two sides exchanged ideas on other articles of agreement, such as measures of reducing technical barriers to trade, trade remedy measures, and rule of origin, which will pave the way for the next round of negotiation to be held in Thailand in this August.
They also discussed on the model of market openness, and exchanged the product categories that they thought should be reduced or enjoy tax exemption, and relevant product categories for which they hoped the other parties open more markets. Thailand hoped Turkey open more markets of vegetables, fruits, processed farm products, plastics, chemical products, synthetic rubber, electrical products, and air conditioner.
The two sides agreed that amid the global economic uncertainties, the FTA will serve as a key mechanism to expand their trade volume from the 1.427 billion U.S. dollars in 2018 to 2 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, and that conclusion should be reached in 2020, added Ms. Onmon.
"The FTA will bring more opportunities for the two sides to leverage each other as a portal of entering regional market. Thailand can help Turkey to open the ASEAN market and the markets of member countries under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), while Thailand can expand trade in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe through Turkey, as it is located between the three major regions," said director-general of the DTN.
She also noted that she met with Turkish private sectors and Thai investors in Turkey during the meeting. The meeting revealed that the Turkish market with a population of 80 million boasts great growth potential, and it is a key strategic node to distribute products to surrounding areas. Turkish private sectors support Thailand-Turkey FTA negotiation and hope to reach agreements as soon as possible.
In addition, market research found that Turkey has a demand both for Thailand's agricultural and industrial products including food, fruit, auto parts, air conditioners and equipment, because Thai products are of good quality and meet relevant standards. However, Turkey still imposes high tariffs on these products. She believed the FTA negotiation results would help Turkey become more open to Thai products.
In 2018, among Thailand's foreign trade partners, Turkey ranked 36th in the world and the 4th in the Middle East. The two countries reached a trade volume of 1.42702 billion U.S. dollars, including 1.08222 billion U.S. dollars exports to and 3.448 million U.S. dollars imports from Turkey. The main products exported from Thailand to Turkey included automobiles, equipment and parts, air conditioners, man-made fibers, rubber, and plastic particles, while the main products Thailand imported from Turkey are chemicals, machinery and parts, ready-made garments, trains, as well as equipment and parts.
Source: InfoQuest, by Phana / Kasamarporn / Rachada, translated by Xinhua Silk Road
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