FTA perks, GSP almost hit $69bn
The use of free trade agreement (FTA) privileges and the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) by Thai exporters topped US$68.8 billion in the first 11 months of last year, up 15.3% from the same period a year earlier. Adul Chotinisakorn, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said the utilisation rate in the first 11 months of 2018 represented 97.2% of the target, set at $70.8 billion by the department. Of the total value, FTA privilege use accounted for $64.3 billion, up 15.3% from the first 11 months in 2017, with shipments under GSP totalling $4.43 billion, an increase of 22.2%. The highest volume of FTA use stemmed from Thai-Asean totalling $24.8 billion, followed by Thai-China ($16.2 billion), Thai-Australia ($8.5 billion), Thai-Japan ($7.02 billion) and Thai-India ($4.09). The Thai-Peru FTA saw the highest growth in use at 44.6%. Items that recorded the most privilege use were trucks, rubber products, passenger cars, petroleum and cane sugar. Thailand has 13 FTAs in place, including the Asean-Hong Kong FTA and an investment agreement scheduled to take effect this month. Mr Adul said Thai manufacturing and exports to the signatories are expected to benefit this year, as the Asean-Hong Kong FTA comes into force while the AseanChina FTA has revised the rules of origin for new product items such as finished food, petrochemicals and cosmetics by scrapping a limit on the value of imported raw materials to be used in the local production, effective in July. With respect to the use of GSP benefits, the value of preference utilisation also rose $3.96 billion in the first 11 months, an increase of 14.2% from the same period of the year before.