EFTA and Thailand convene for sixth round of Free Trade Agreement negotiations in Bangkok
From 12 to 15 September 2023, delegates from the EFTA States – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – and Thailand convened for their sixth round of negotiations towards a Free Trade Agreement.
The EFTA delegation was led by Ambassador Markus Schlagenhof, Delegate of the Federal Council for Trade Agreements at the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, while Thailand’s delegation was headed by Director General Auramon Supthaweetum from the Department of Trade Negotiations within the Ministry of Commerce.
Expert discussions covered a wide range of areas including trade in goods, sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS), trade in services, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), investment, trade remedies, legal and horizontal issues, government procurement, trade and sustainable development, cooperation and capacity building as well as intellectual property rights. Heads of delegations also met on several occasions to define optimal ways of advancing on the most sensitive issues.
The discussions took place in a collaborative and friendly atmosphere, resulting in substantial progress achieved over the week. This progress highlights the shared commitment of both sides to efficiently and successfully conclude the negotiations by 2024.
A comprehensive report of the round can be found here.
Economic relations between the EFTA States and Thailand
In 2022, bilateral EFTA–Thailand merchandise trade exceeded USD 3.5 billion. Clocks and watches, fish and crustaceans, and pharmaceutical products were the primary exports from EFTA to Thailand, while electronic machinery, clocks and watch parts, and iron structures were the primary imports from Thailand.
Read more about merchandise trade between EFTA and Thailand here.
The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is an intergovernmental organisation comprising Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. Established in 1960 by its original seven Member States, EFTA’s primary objective has been to foster free trade and facilitate economic integration among its member nations. The inception of EFTA can be traced back to the Stockholm Convention in 1960.
Throughout its history, EFTA has consistently prioritised its relationships with the European Economic Community (EEC), later evolving into the European Community (EC) and eventually the European Union (EU). These relationships have formed the cornerstone of EFTA’s activities since its inception.
Beginning in the early 1990s, EFTA has taken proactive steps to cultivate trade partnerships with countries both within and beyond the European continent. This strategic approach reflects EFTA’s commitment to expanding its economic engagements on a global scale. To gain further insights into EFTA’s historical evolution, one can delve into its journey over the years.
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