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EU, Thailand launch free trade talks in bid to boost commerce

Published on Mar 7, 2013 12:12 AM

BRUSSELS (AFP) - The European Union and Thailand on Wednesday announced the launch of talks on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), seeking to boost annual commerce already worth some 30 billion euros (S$49 billion).

"We are delighted to announce today the launch of free-trade negotiations between the EU and Thailand," European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso told a news conference held along with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in Brussels.

Yingluck, who was later to meet with EU President Herman Van Rompuy and EU Parliament head Martin Schulz, said that "Thailand hopes for quick conclusions" to the FTA.

The latest in a scramble for bilateral trade deals, the launch comes as EU leaders prepare to travel to Japan to start similar negotiations there, according to a Japanese daily.

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