Thailand - EU free-trade agreement (FTA) stuck over alcohol and tobacco..

September 16, 2010 - Negotiations for a bilateral free-trade agreement between Thailand and the European Union could be difficult to start in the near future as the EU insists on covering all areas of trade, while Thailand wants alcohol and tobacco excluded from the talks.

The Thai commerce ministry yesterday announced that it would conduct a public hearing whether to include alcohol and tobacco in the Thai-EU FTA talks.

Sanya Sathiraboot, adviser to the deputy commerce minister said the government does not aim to protect any particular local alcohol or tobacco producer. However, since the inclusion of alcohol and tobacco involved Thai people's health, the government must carefully weigh the impact of the liberalisation. If alcohol and tobacco are excluded under the FTA, the government may have to find other measures to fairly treat local producers and import alcohol and tobacco. The finance ministry may have to consider increasing excise tax so that it will be fair to all traders, he said.

Ambassador David Lipman, head of the European Commission's delegation to Thailand, "the EU looks forward to launching the process with Thailand in the near future to establish an ambitious free-trade agreement." I also wish to stress that the European Union believes in the importance and necessity of consulting all stakeholders in the process of free-trade agreement negotiations.

Lipman: "EU would like to emphasise that no trade agreement between Thailand and the European Union will limit the right of the Thai government to look after public-health concerns."

Thailand will soon be able to start free-trade talks with Chile after Parliament's nod yesterday for the draft negotiation.

EU approves free trade pact with South Korea, September 17, 2010.

Thai-EU FTA talks stuck over alcohol, tobacco by PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI, THE NATION, 9/16/2010.

Some other Thailand news briefs:
Thailand govt - wants to ban the growing of Burley and Oriental tobacco..;
Thailand - more measures put in place to protect non-smokers..;
Thailand - number of no-smoking zones expanded..;
Thailand - PMI likely breached the Foreign Business Act..;
Thai Tobacco Monopoly withdraws products from Tabinfo Asia 2009..;
Thailand - organizer of international tobacco exhibition fined..;
Thailand - hand-rolled cigarettes more popular and other matters..;
WTO - "DS 371" Philippines versus Thailand on cigarette customs valuation..;
Thailand - Tobacco Expo organizers and guests must obey all tobacco control laws..;
Thailand unit of Philip Morris International faces charges that it violated custom tax rules..;
Thailand - hosting major tobacco promotion event in November 2009..;
Thailand Tobacco Monoploly - union concerned about privatization..;
Thailand - monks sickly from tobacco smoking and/or smoke exposure..;
Philippines - Thai cigarette import rules..;
Thailand - cigarette and liquor prices are expected to rise once new measures for calculating excise taxes take effect..;
Congratulations.. Thailand Joins Developed World With Total Ban On Smoking..;
Discouraging Tobacco Use - Horrific Images on the Packaging..

- Thailand is a member of Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA)..