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Trade Talks Resumed Between Thailand and EU After Delay Caused by 2014 Coup

After a long hiatus, the European Union and Thailand are set to resume talks on a free trade agreement. The EU had suspended discussions back in 2014 when Thailand underwent a military coup, sparking concerns over the country’s democratic principles. However, with a civilian government now in place, the two sides have agreed to restart negotiations, which would boost trade and investment flows between the two regions. In this article, we delve deeper into the reasons why the EU has decided to revisit trade talks with Thailand and how this agreement could impact the Southeast Asian nation’s economy.

Thailand and the European Union have agreed to restart negotiations on a bilateral trade agreement that has been stalled for nearly a decade following the 2014 military coup in Thailand. The deal aims to be finished by 2025, with senior officials from both sides set to begin talks in Thailand in July.

Negotiations will cover trade in goods and services, as well as investment in key Thai industries where the EU is keen to increase its share, such as renewable energy, electric vehicles, and chipmaking. The European Union is Thailand’s third-largest trading partner, with trade between the two sides reaching $42 billion in 2020.

Thailand, which is the only country in Southeast Asia to have a free trade agreement with China, has been striving to attract more foreign investment and has been actively pursuing new trade agreements with other countries. This renewed push for a bilateral trade agreement with the EU comes as the Thai economy struggles to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The European Union, on the other hand, has been pushing for more ambitious trade agreements with its partners in Southeast Asia, with a goal of creating a regional comprehensive economic partnership. Negotiations with Thailand were halted in 2014 following the military coup, which prompted the EU to suspend all official visits to the country and put talks on hold. However, the two sides have been working to restore ties in recent years, with the EU announcing last year that it was resuming political contacts with Thailand at all levels.

Thailand’s Prime Minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, welcomed the move to restart trade talks with the European Union, saying that it would help to boost the country’s economic recovery. “We believe that working with the EU will strengthen our position as a regional hub and help us tap into new markets,” he said in a statement. “We are committed to working together with the EU to reach an agreement that benefits both sides.”

The European Union’s Ambassador to Thailand, Pirkka Tapiola, said that the resumption of talks was a positive move and that the EU was looking forward to working with Thailand to develop a comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade agreement. “We believe that we have a lot in common with Thailand, and we are committed to supporting the country’s economic development and growth,” he said.

The resumption of trade talks between Thailand and the European Union is expected to provide a much-needed boost to the Thai economy, which has been struggling since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The EU is one of Thailand’s largest trading partners, and a bilateral trade agreement is likely to provide increased access to European markets, leading to increased exports and investment in the country. At the same time, it will also open up new opportunities for European companies looking to invest in Thailand.

Overall, the restart of negotiations between Thailand and the EU is a positive development that has the potential to create significant economic benefits for both sides. As the world continues to grapple with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, increased international cooperation and trade are more important than ever. This renewed commitment to a bilateral trade agreement between Thailand and the European Union provides a promising step towards a more prosperous and interconnected global economy.

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