7 March 2013

Negotiations on Free Trade Agreement between Thailand and the European Union start

Opportunities and risks for companies, trade organisations and public authorities

On 5-6 March the Prime Minister of Thailand, H.E. Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra, visited Belgium and the European Union Institutions in Brussels.
European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, and the Thai Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, launched negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the European Union and Thailand. EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht and the Thai Minister of Commerce Boonsong had met the day before to formally agree on the start of negotiations. The ambition is to conclude a comprehensive agreement covering tariffs, non-tariff barriers and other trade related issues such as services, investment, procurement, regulatory issues, competition, and sustainable development. The first negotiating round is expected to take place before the summer break. Thailand is the EU's third largest trading partner inside ASEAN and the EU is Thailand’s third largest trading partner, with trade between them reaching nearly €32 billion in 2012. The EU is also one of the largest investors in Thailand with investment stocks worth over €14 billion in 2011.
In a briefing session for a large group of senior Thai businessmen, accompanying the Prime Minister, Michael Voordeckers - Director at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, presented the challenges for Thai companies regarding EU regulatory developments and Free Trade Agreement negotiations in particular. H+K Brussels has vast experience in supporting companies, trade organisations and public authorities on trade issues. It offers inter alia 1) Detailed procedure & timeline analysis; 2) Stakeholder mapping; 3) Outreach strategy at EU and national level; 4) Tailored messages documents; 5) Talking points for discussions with public authorities and 6) Strategic counsel. Taking into account the complex and lengthy negotiating process, H+K recognises the many opportunities to convey important business concerns to decision makers and relevant key influencers.

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