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Free Trade
July 23, 2007

US "given up" on trade deal
The United States has given up hopes of a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Thailand because of the political situation since last year's coup, a US official told a Singapore newspaper.

"In the case of Thailand, FTA negotiations stalled before the coup," US Trade Representative Susan Schwab said in an interview with the Straits Times published July 23.

"With the coup, it obviously became impossible to proceed. We have given up having an FTA with Thailand," she said.

The United States announced in November that free trade talks had been suspended until a democratic government was in place.

The junta has promised to hold elections by the end of this year, but since taking power the army-installed government has pressed ahead with free-trade deals that had been negotiated under ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thailand signed an FTA with Japan in April, and has moved to speed up talks with India.

Talks with the United States, which began in 2003, have been dogged by controversy, particularly over patent protections for US pharmaceuticals.

The United States is Thailand's largest trading partner with two-way trade reaching more than 30 billion dollars last year, according to US government figures. AFP

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