Thailand to Discuss Changes to FTA with Australia
3 February 2011
Talks between Thailand and Australia are soon to begin concerning revisions to their free-trade agreement, which has been in place for five years.
The talks will revolve around cancelling non-tariff barriers and increasing cooperation between the two countries regarding the promotion of trade and service growth. Markets in the two countries would be opened up to allow the flow of more goods and services.
Thailand will discuss widening its options in the Australian market for fresh foods, including shrimp and chicken, as well as mangosteen, after they reach a wall of high sanitary standards, even with no duties enforced.
Thailand will also ask Australia to enable Thai chefs to work in the country on contracts offering more flexibility, as Australia currently requires all chefs to take an English language skills test before a visa is offered. Few Thai chefs can actually pass this test, even though Thai restaurants are allowed to open in Australia.
After the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement was established in 2005, significant growth in two way trade has been witnessed as evidenced by the tripling of trade between the two countries from 2005 - 2009. In 2010, two-way trade vastly increased 24.19 per cent to $15.33 billion, with Thailand reaping a trade surplus.
Some examples of potential Thai exports to Australia include steel, jewelry and ornaments, air conditioners, computers and parts, automobiles and parts, plastics, canned and processed seafood, glasses and mirrors and rubber products.