This fourth Trade Policy Review of Thailand has undoubtedly
contributed to a better understanding of recent developments in its
trade and trade-related policies. Our discussion has been facilitated
by the informative contribution of Ambassador Puangrat Asavapisit and
her delegation as well as by the incisive comments of our Discussant,
Ambassador Seixas Corrêa.
Members noted Thailand's prudent macroeconomic policies, trade
liberalization and structural reforms, including those in the
financial and corporate sector, and encouraged the authorities to
continue with this approach, which has contributed to the steady
development of the economy since the previous Review in 1999.
Members commended Thailand on its active participation in the
multilateral trading system, including its support for the Doha
Development Agenda. Noting that Thailand has become more involved in
bilateral/regional trade initiatives, some Members enquired about the
likely impact of these arrangements. In this context, they asked how
Thailand intended to deal with the added complexity that the resulting
rules would entail for its trade regime and the compatability of these
arrangements with the multilateral trading system.
Members encouraged Thailand to continue reforms, including
improvements in customs procedures and liberalization of foreign
ownership restrictions. Members expressed concern about relatively
high tariffs faced by their exports, particularly in agriculture, to
Thailand; they called for greater transparency in the tariff regime,
reduced tariff rates and tariff escalation, and a narrower gap between
bound and applied tariff rates. Members also encouraged Thailand to
increase the transparency of its import licensing regime.
While noting various new laws and regulations on the protection of
intellectual property rights, Members encouraged Thailand to continue
its efforts to combat the infringement of these rights. Some Members
sought clarification of developments concerning Thailand’s regulatory
regime for the telecommunications sector.
Members also sought clarification on other issues, notably: domestic
regional imbalances; contingency measures; standards and SPS;
government procurement; local-content requirements; export duties and
controls; investment incentives; subsidies; privatization; competition
policy; liberalization of trade in agriculture and fisheries products;
and reform of the energy and various other services sectors.
Members expressed their appreciation of the oral and written responses
to their questions as provided by the Thai delegation; they looked
forward to receiving answers on any outstanding questions.
This brings us to the conclusion of our fourth Review of Thailand. The
large number of advance questions, the many interventions and the high
level of attendance indicate the important role that Thailand plays at
the WTO. In this context, I would encourage Thailand to continue to
strongly support, as it has up to now, the multilateral trading