Chile's FTA with Thailand marks continued push to open Asian markets

Bnamericas Published: Friday, October 04, 2013
The free trade agreement that Chile signed with Thailand on Friday (Oct 4) marks a continued push by the South American country to open up more markets in Asia. On a state visit, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera and Thailand's prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra signed the FTA in the Thai capital Bangkok. Chile's government said that the FTA will give immediate preferential tariff treatment to more than 90% of the products that the country exports to the Asian nation. Piñera said that the new FTA should be very beneficial for Chilean exporters since Thailand is a market with more than 70mn inhabitants and a potential point of entry to the larger Southeast Asian market. The FTA also includes a plan to begin negotiations within two years for an agreement on investments. Chile and Thailand began their FTA negotiations in April 2011. These were concluded in August last year after six rounds of talks. The Chilean government noted that the FTA with Thailand is part of a process to gain better market access to the 10 countries that make up the association of southeast Asian nations Asean. Besides the FTA, Piñera and Shinawatra also signed a collaboration agreement covering a wide range of issues, such as science, technology, renewable energy, tourism and also how to better face natural disasters, which both nations have suffered from in the last several years. Chile is one of the countries that has the most FTAs in the world and the government has in recent years stepped up its efforts to sign more of these in Asia and expand existing agreements. Last year saw Chile sign FTAs with Vietnam and Hong Kong as well as expanding its FTA with China to include investments.

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