Thailand, Gyeonggi agree to mini-FTA

thailand, gyeonggi agree to mini-fta

Phusit Ratanakul Sereroengrit, director-general of Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), seated right, and Lee Gae-Youl, head of Global Trade Department and executive director, GBSA, seated left, at the MoU signing. The ceremony was witnessed by Mr Jurin, standing left, and Mr Moon.

Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) yesterday to form a deeper trade partnership through a so-called mini-free trade agreement (mini-FTA) with Gyeonggi province of South Korea, aiming to push exports to South Korea to reach US$6.6 billion over the next three years.

Speaking after presiding at the signing ceremony, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said the deeper partnership will not only accelerate trade between Thailand and Gyeonggi but also pave the way for future cooperation in trade and investment development, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises which will greatly benefit the economic development of the two countries.

“Gyeonggi is the city with the highest GDP growth in South Korea and has over 13.9 million inhabitants,” said Mr Jurin. “The city is also dubbed the country’s Silicon Valley as it is home to advanced IT development and technology promotion.”

Two-way trade between Thailand and Gyeonggi was worth $3.2 billion last year, while this year the trade volume in the first seven months already surpassed $2 billion.

Overall two-way trade between Thailand and South Korea totalled $15.8 billion, with Thai exports making up $5.9 billion, rising 41% from a year before, and imports worth $9.9 billion, up 32%.

In the first eight months of 2022, bilateral trade between the two countries rose 20% to $11.5 billion. Exports represented $4.5 billion, up by 28% from the same period of last year, with imports rising by 16% to $7 billion.

The top export products were refined fuels, sugar, rubber, chemicals and rubber products, while the top five import products included iron, steel and products, electronics and integrated circuits, chemicals, metal waste scrap and products, and machinery and parts.

Exports to South Korea are expected to grow by 5% this year.

The ministry previously signed five mini-FTAs with Japan’s Kofu city, China’s Hainan and Gansu provinces, India’s Telangana state and Busan in South Korea.

South Korean ambassador Moon Seoung-Hyun said the deeper partnership via the mini-FTA will help promote trade cooperation and development, noting that there are many opportunities to expand trade growth between the two countries.