EU-Thailand relations entering a new era
The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the Prime Minister of Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra, met in Brussels today. They announced the conclusion of the negotiations of the Partnership Cooperation Agreement and the launch of negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the EU and Thailand.
Following the bilateral talks with Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, President Barroso said that EU-Thailand relations are moving into "a new era", based on a brand new Partnership Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and on a future Free Trade Agreement.
The PCA, signed at the margins of the talks, "will lift our cooperation to a higher level, better adapted to the current global challenges and our political ambitions", he said.
Furthermore, President Barroso and Prime Minister Shinawatra announced the launch of the negotiations on a FTA, expected to bring "substantial benefits to our already strong trade and investment relations."
During the bilateral talks, international and regional affairs were also addressed, givenThailand's central role in ASEAN. "The EU wants Southeast Asia regional integration to succeed: a strong ASEAN will be good for prosperity of South-East Asia and good for the stability of the wider region," the President said.
At the end of the meeting, President Barroso presented a certificate of 'Geographical Indication' for Khao Hom Mali Thung Kula Ronghai (a type of Thai rice) to the Prime Minister. This rice became the first Southeast Asia product recognised with this status by the EU. During this symbolic ceremony, President Barroso stressed how "cooperation between the EU and Thailand is effective and pragmatic", and concluded by saying that "it delivers tangible benefits to our citizens' lives".