Thailand is actively pursuing the establishment of a free trade agreement (FTA) with the East African Community (EAC) as part of its efforts to expand trade and investment opportunities.
The Department of Trade Negotiations, led by Director-General Auramon Supthaweethum, recently held discussions with Kenyan Ambassador to Thailand, Kiptiness Lindsay Kimwole, to explore the prospects of an FTA. The main objective is to strengthen trade ties between Thailand and the seven-nation EAC bloc, which includes Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Thailand’s Commerce Ministry has received requests from the private sector to pursue FTAs with African countries, recognizing the untapped potential of the African market. Auramon expressed Thailand’s keen interest in an FTA with the EAC and outlined plans to hold a joint trade committee meeting with Kenya in the first quarter of the next year. The meeting, to be hosted by Kenya, will serve as a platform for discussions on trade and investment-related matters.
Additionally, the event will provide an opportunity for Kenya to showcase its trade and investment regulations, further facilitating bilateral trade between the two countries.
Efforts to strengthen trade ties have already begun, with Thailand extending invitations to Kenyan business operators to participate in Thai trade shows. In return, Kenya aims to expand its exports to Thailand and encourages Thai companies to invest in its economy.
In 2022, the total trade between Thailand and Kenya reached $256.16 million (8.93 billion baht). Thai exports accounted for $226.82 million (7.91 billion baht), while imports from Kenya were valued at $29.34 million (1.02 billion baht). Notable Thai exports to Kenya include automobiles and their components, sugar, rubber products, plastic beads, and rice. Kenya, on the other hand, primarily imports chemicals, ores, metals, and jewelry from Thailand.