Thailand urges Australia to expand trade and investment ties

Photo courtesy of Bernd 📷 Dittrich (Unsplash)

The Commerce Minister of Thailand, Phumtham Wechayachai, has urged Australia to broaden their trade and investment ties, as well as discover new avenues for economic collaboration. Following his recent discussion with Australian ambassador Angela Macdonald, he revealed that Thailand views Australia as a vital ally in the Pacific and a key collaborator in devising joint economic strategies to enhance trade, investment, and economic cooperation in sectors of mutual interest.

He further stated that the strong economic relations between Thailand and Australia are bolstered by Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) under three frameworks, namely the Thailand-Australia FTA, the Asean-Australia-New Zealand FTA, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. These FTAs play a vital role in widening trade and investment opportunities between the two nations, reports Bangkok Post.

Apart from this, Thailand and Australia have also developed a Strategic Economic Cooperation Arrangement (SECA) across eight main sectors: agriculture, sustainable food systems and technology; tourism; healthcare services; education; digital trade and digital economy; creative economy; two-way investment promotion; and energy, green economy, and decarbonisation. The finalising plans and activities related to SECA are expected to be announced at the Asean-Australia Special Summit, slated for March 4-6, 2024, in Melbourne, Australia.

During their meeting, Phumtham and Macdonald also discussed the economic strategies for Southeast Asia up to 2040, focusing particularly on trade and investment promotion for Australian businesses in the region, including Thailand. The conversation underscored potential sectors such as agriculture and food, with Thailand aiming to share best practices with Australia on food innovation and technologies in production.

The collaboration also aims to encourage green initiatives and the transition towards green energy. With this in mind, Thailand has invited Australian investors to participate in green technology projects, including electric vehicles and battery production, especially in the Eastern Economic Corridor.

Education and skills development were also highlighted, with the aim of enhancing cooperation through alternative education certification systems and fostering creativity and innovation in fields like film production, gaming, animation, arts, fashion, and culture. Healthcare services were another key area of focus, particularly medical technology, pharmaceuticals, and elderly care training.

In terms of trade, Australia is Thailand’s eighth-largest trading partner. Bilateral trade reached US$18.3 billion (630 billion baht) last year, marking a 6.27% increase from the previous year. Exports accounted for US$11.2 billion (386 billion baht), while imports were valued at US$7.12 billion (245 billion baht).

Key export products included automobiles, air conditioners and parts, as well as gems and jewellery, whereas major imports consisted of natural gas, crude oil, metallic minerals, as well as scrap metal and products.

In related news, Long-haul tourism to boost Thai tourism revenue in 2024.

Economy News

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