Thailand wants to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The aim is to ensure it is not left behind by its competitors in the vibrant region. Thailand’s membership would lead to increased trade and investment for the country, while upgrading regulations and standards. It is also likely to secure Thailand’s position as a major manufacturing base for foreign-affiliated manufacturers.
The Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership came into force last December 30 and currently comprises Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
Thailand’s application will need to be endorsed by at least half of the current members.
The CPTPP covers around 13 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product and provides access to an economic bloc of 500 million people. It is designed to cut tariffs on agricultural and industrial products, ease investment restrictions and enhance intellectual property protection. Its recent entry into force marked a critical milestone for the countries that sought to save its older version, simply called the TPP, from collapse after the US pulled out.
Thailand is already participating in the Asean free trade area of the ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes CPTPP members Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. It also has bilateral FTAs with CPTPP participants Japan, Australia and New Zealand.