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Australia and Thailand agree on new study to increase trade and investment links.



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Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Media release

Australian Minister for Trade, Mark Vaile

Wednesday, 4 July 2001

Australia and Thailand Agree on new Study to Increase Trade and Investment Links

Trade Minister, Mark Vaile, today welcomed confirmation from Thai Foreign Minister, Dr Surakiart Sathirathai that Australia and Thailand will undertake a joint scoping study on a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA).  

Mr Vaile said he had discussed the proposal for a joint study with Thai Commerce Minister, Dr Adisai Bodharamik, in Shanghai at the APEC Trade Ministers’ Meeting last month and looked forward to discussing further the details of the study with Dr Adisai in the near future.  Mr Vaile said he would also be discussing the study with Dr Surakiart in Sydney tomorrow. 

Australia and Thailand have long-standing and close bilateral relations, encompassing a wide range of areas.  The joint scoping study will explore the feasibility of an FTA and how to maximise the potential benefits of closer economic integration with Thailand.  In 2000, Thailand was Australia's 12 th largest export and import market, with two-way merchandise trade worth more than $4.7 billion.

"Removing impediments through an FTA could stimulate a substantial expansion in our bilateral trade and investment relationship," Mr Vaile said.

“The joint study agreed between Australia and Thailand will allow us to consult closely with our respective business communities.

"Any FTA should be comprehensive in scope, removing barriers to trade in goods and services, as well as addressing other issues such as electronic commerce.  It should be genuinely liberalising, WTO-consistent and consistent with APEC goals and principles," Mr Vaile said.

"Australia's interest in discussing an FTA with Thailand should not be seen in any way as a reduction in our commitment to the multilateral trade system.  We both share a strong interest in getting agreement to a new WTO round this year.”

"Australia and Thailand enjoy close working relations on regional trade issues, reflected in work being carried out under the auspices of both APEC and AFTA-CER.  We believe that a bilateral FTA could contribute to strengthening these efforts," Mr Vaile said.

Contact: James Baker  (Ministerial) 02 6277 7420 mobile 0418 273 475 Lyndall Sachs (Departmental) 02 6261 1555

MVT97/2001

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