Thailand Plans To Seek More Trade Access In U.K. After Brexit

A man sells food during a vegetable festival in Chinatown at Bangkok, Thailand October 12, 2018. (Photo: REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun)

Thailand's Department of Trade Negotiations (DTN) is reportedly looking to push for trade talks focusing on the possibility of easing up regulations on trade and investment from Britain after the U.K. departs from the European Union (EU).

The British Parliament is still seemingly divided on settling for Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal but Thailand is already reportedly mulling the possibility of having Britain lift some tariffs on Thai goods to the United Kingdom.

According to the Phnom Penh Post, the DTN is expected to keep a watchful eye on Brexit developments despite MPs taking a long time in negotiating an agreement with the EU. Thai trade officials are also expected to prepare the country for potential changes in its investment and trade setup with the U.K.

DTN Director-General Auramon Supthaweethum pointed out that Brexit uncertainties posed competition threats to Thai exports to the United Kingdom. While some analysts previously predicted that Thailand could experience further beatings, other experts said there could be benefits behind the British exit.

Thailand's Commerce Ministry is currently in talks with both the EU and the U.K. in hopes of amending the tariff quota on Thai goods. "Our primary goal is preserving the interest of Thailand to receive the post-Brexit total quota [the UK and EU combined] of no less than the original quota," Auramon stressed.

Aside from prioritizing the tax quota issue, Auramon said the ministry is also preparing a feasibility study on how Thailand and Britain can achieve a free trade agreement (FTA) in the near future.

Over the weekend, it was reported that Thailand's exports dropped by 4.88 percent last month, triggering debates on what the government should do to improve the country's relations with other nations and trade partners.

A Commerce Ministry official revealed that Thailand's drop in exports stemmed from weaker shipments of several key products from the country. These include computers and accessories and electronics.

The export contraction was also attributed to "falling commodity prices" as well as global trade disputes. Despite external headwinds hurting Thai export activities, analysts believe improved monetary policies in the eurozone will help drive exports back on track.

The U.K. is expected to follow suit with other countries that transitioned to a more accommodative approach in monetary policies after leaving the bloc, potentially allowing for Thailand to discuss its cause of getting Britain to amend tax quotas.

The European Council has allowed for an extension of the long-overdue Brexit process to be completed until October 31. May's deal has been historically defeated twice and the Labour Party may keep taking its stand against the PM's withdrawal proposal.

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