Thailand and Peru have agreed to cut import tariffs on at least 3,000 products in their negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA).
Washing machines, microwave ovens, clothing, and rubber are Thailand's export staples to Peru. The country imports mineral water, animal-based fat and oil, fresh and frozen cuttlefish, precious stones, and gold and silver from Peru.
Thailand is said to consider Peru the gateway to Latin America and Peru reportedly hopes the agreement with Thailand will give it a better foothold in Southeast Asia.
In the first half of this year, shipments from Thailand to Peru totaled U.S. $15.2 million up 60 percent from the same period last year, while imports to Thailand from Peru reached $27.3 million, an increase of 63 percent.
The two countries still need to develop a timeframe for the elimination of tariffs on goods, services, investment, and products deemed "sensitive." Previously, a 10-year term was set. Peru placed rice and sugar on top of the list while Thailand says that its local fishery industry still needs protection.
"Although the import tariffs on rice and sugar will not exceed 20 percent, we need longer transitional periods for them," said Peru's Minister of Foreign Trade, Pablo de la Flor Pablo.
Thailand is accelerating FTA talks with various countries including China, India, the U.S., and Japan. In early July, Thailand signed its first FTA with Australia, which will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2005. (VNA)
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