The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP


Media releases

Thursday 30 May 2002 / MVT051/2002

PMs Give Green Light to Begin Australia / Thailand Trade Negotiations

The first stage of formal trade negotiations between Australia and Thailand will begin tomorrow when Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile meets with his Thai counterpart Dr Adisai Bodharamik at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Mr Vaile said the announcement in Canberra earlier today by Prime Minister Howard and visiting Thai Prime Minister Thaksin has given the green light to begin formal discussions that will build closer economic relations between Australia and Thailand.

“The Prime Ministers of Australia and Thailand have agreed that the closer economic relations trade agreement between our two countries will be as comprehensive as possible,” Mr Vaile said. 

“Tomorrow I will take the opportunity to hold initial talks with Dr Adisai.

“We will discuss the way ahead for our trade agreement, which will extend beyond liberalisation of trade in goods and services and will promote cooperation in other areas affecting trade and investment.

“Australia and Thailand have great potential to improve the business environment by not only removing tariff and services barriers but also by addressing issues such as standards, intellectual property, competition policy, customs, tourism and education.”

Today’s prime ministerial announcement followed completion of a joint scoping study, released earlier this month, on the feasibility of a bilateral free trade agreement between the two countries.  The study concluded that an ‘FTA plus’ agreement would bring significant economic benefits to both countries.

“We envisage that an FTA with Thailand will be a cutting edge agreement that will significantly increase market access and opportunities for Australian exporters.  This trade agreement will assist and complement our multilateral and regional trade liberalisation efforts.

“Australia stands to gain from improved access in areas like agriculture, pharmaceuticals, aluminium products and large passenger motor vehicles and components. 

“Access into Thailand for Australian services will also improve and investment flows will increase,” Mr Vaile said.

Australia and Thailand already have a close relationship, with two-way trade worth about $A5 billion annually.  Thailand is Australia’s 14th largest trading partner.

Mr Vaile said industry groups, state governments and other stakeholders would be consulted in the course of Australia Thailand trade negotiations.

Media Contact: Nicole Guihot (Australia) +61 (0)2 6277 7420

Local Date: Tuesday, 07-Jan-2014 10:01:53 EST


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