Chile and Thailand enter into ‘historic’ free trade agreement

New deal eases transactions while new Cooperation Agreement promises a deeper, multi-faceted alliance on everything from tourism to science and technology.

The country with more trade agreements than any other has added one more to the list.

President Sebastián Piñera signed a new free trade agreement (FTA) in Bangkok alongside Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra earlier this month sealing the deal on plans to facilitate trade between the two nations. The culmination of negotiations that began in 2011, this deal will see 90 percent of Chilean goods receive immediate preferential access to the large Thai market.

During the ceremony Piñera emphasized the benefits this new agreement will bring for the Chilean market.

“[This trade agreement] is going to allow Chilean exporters access, under preferential conditions,  to a market of more than 70 million people that is also a gateway to the wider South-East Asian market,” Piñera said.

The president added that the deal will also open up opportunities to create more and better quality jobs for the people of both nations. Springing from Chile’s attempt to strengthen relations with countries in the region, this trade agreement will be the fifth the Andean nation has signed with countries from the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN).

Among the exports to benefit from the new deal are commodities such as copper cathodes, lithium carbonate, lithium carbonate, as well as agricultural products like cheese, beef, nuts and avocados.

The fruits of this trip, though, went beyond the first FTA between the two countries — described as “historic” by the Thai leader — to include a Collaboration Agreement.

Piñera gave examples of what this may entail, citing possible collaboration in “the field of science, technology, renewable energies, tourism and also on combatting future natural disasters that have hit both Thailand and Chile in the past.”

Signed during the Head of State’s ongoing tour of Asia, the FTA agreement is part of wider plans to improve business in the region. Piñera also attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference (APEC) in Indonesia where a new region-wide trade pact was among the proposals on the agenda.