Thai firms, farmers to be taught how to tap potential of RCEP deal
Thai farmers and entrepreneurs will be educated on how to utilise the benefits of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) before the agreement is signed by member nations in November in Vietnam, Department of Trade Negotiations director-general Oramon Sapthaweetham said.
There are 16 countries involved in RCEP – the 10 members of ASEAN – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – plus the six countries with which ASEAN has free trade agreements – Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.
However, India is not signing the RCEP agreement as of now.
Oramon said: “Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit has tasked departments under the ministry to come up with measures to maximise the benefits that Thailand will get from this partnership.
“The Department of Trade Negotiations has surveyed Thai export markets and found that the following products will benefit from tax exemption under RCEP – fruit, vegetable oil, cereal, tapioca starch, seafood, processed food and fruit juice.
“The department will notify Thai farmers and entrepreneurs of business opportunities in the manufacturing and exporting of these products as well as negotiate with business partners to expand export markets in RCEP member countries.
“Products from Thailand have been positively welcomed by many countries during the Covid-19 situation as we are one of the few countries who are able to control the outbreak with minimal impact to the agricultural sector.”
Last year, Thailand exported agricultural products worth $25.2 billion to the 16 RCEP member countries, or 62.2 per cent of total export of agricultural products.
In the first five months of this year, exports in this category to RCEP nations were worth $10.8 billion, or 63.8 per cent of total agricultural products export, increasing 2.4 per cent year-on-year.
Products that have seen greater demand this year include fresh and frozen fruit (22 per cent increase), fresh and frozen chicken (up 12.12 per cent), canned and processed fruit (up 6.7 per cent) and fruit juice (up 10.2 per cent).