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Thailand’s ‘mini’ FTA with Hainan pays off in big way
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2023
The “mini” free trade agreement Thailand signed with China’s Hainan province two years ago helped push up exports to the area by 91.9% last year.
Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit made this comment after meeting Hainan’s executive vice governor Shen Danyang on Monday.
“The Commerce Ministry has accepted China’s invitation to participate in the Hainan Expo from April 11 to 15,” he said.
Jurin reckons at least 20 Thai businesses will participate in the expo.
He added that Thailand will promote Hainan as a free trade port, and even set up an office there to publicise Thai products.
“Thailand has asked Hainan to further expand the mini FTA, increase the frequency of trade discussions and add Thai products to Hainan’s duty-free shops,” he said.
“The Commerce Ministry is also inviting Hainan to send businessmen to participate in Thailand’s five trade fairs, namely Style Bangkok, Thailand Autoparts and Accessories, Thaifex-Anuga Asia, Tilog Logistix and Bangkok Gems & Jewellery Fair.”
Jurin said China was still Thailand’s key export market, despite the global economic slowdown, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and inflation.
He said Thailand will sign mini FTAs with Shenzhen and Yunnan soon as part of its aim to boost exports to China by 1% this year.
The value of exports to Hainan last year came in at 18.2 billion baht, up 91.9% year on year. The most popular products exported were rubber, fruit, chemicals and ore.
Jurin said the mini FTA with Hainan was signed on August 20, 2021, which further strengthened the country’s ties with China.
He said Thailand currently has seven mini FTAs with key cities globally and expects negotiations on another six to be completed soon.
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