Thailand to explore AANZFTA ties and new economic partnerships

Government spokesman Chai Wacharonke announces Srettha Thavisin's commitment to strengthening collaboration under the Asean-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (Image Courtesy of Bangkok Post).

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has committed to strengthening collaboration under the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), maintaining current markets, and forging new economic partnerships, government spokesman Chai Wacharonke announced yesterday.

Delegates from the Commerce Ministry and the Department of Trade Negotiations (DTN) participated in the 21st AANZFTA Joint Committee Meeting held in Auckland, New Zealand, from May 26 to May 31.

PM Srettha is actively enhancing economic ties with international partners, exploring new investment prospects, and sustaining existing trade relationships, said the spokesman.

The 62 year old prime minister is prepared to escalate Thailand’s AANZFTA cooperation to align with the evolving global landscape under new economic frameworks.

Thailand has also committed to backing an expanded AANZFTA set to launch this year.

The latest free trade discussions have mitigated trade restrictions and eased tax measures. These discussions are anticipated to bolster economic cooperation and stimulate the domestic economy.

Current discussions

The meeting included deliberations on several key issues outlined in the agreements, such as updating tax reduction commitments, refining investment regulations, creating a comprehensive Rules of Origin handbook, promoting AANZFTA activities to enhance regional collaboration for developing small and medium-sized enterprises, and increasing the participation of women in businesses, said Chai.

“Srettha views AANZFTA as a significant opportunity to boost the country’s international trade volumes.”

As reported by the DTN, from January to April, Australia and New Zealand ranked as Thailand’s seventh and 31st largest trading partners, respectively.

During this period, Thailand’s trade with Australia and New Zealand reached US$7.1 billion, marking a 0.74% increase from the same timeframe last year.

Thailand’s exports to Australia amounted to US$4.1 billion, a 22% rise. Major exports included automobiles, auto parts and accessories, air conditioners, and computer parts.

Exports to New Zealand during the same period were valued at US$529 million, up 17%. Thailand primarily exported similar items to those sent to Australia.

Saudi Arabia partnership

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has approved the import of live cattle, sheep, and goats from Thailand, according to Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai.

Phumtham stated the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture communicated the approval via the Saudi Arabian and Thai foreign ministries. The live animals can be imported from Thailand and then kept and slaughtered in Saudi Arabia.

Importers and exporters may apply for trade permits through the Naama Platform of the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture.

Phumtham also noted that the Saudi Arabia Food and Drug Authority previously permitted Thai chicken exporters to sell fresh, processed, and cooked chicken in Saudi Arabia through all checkpoints.

Last year, the trade value between Thailand and Saudi Arabia totalled US$8.79 billion, including US$6.13 billion in imports from Saudi Arabia.

In the first four months of this year, the trade value was US$2.59 billion, a 17% decrease year-on-year, with 66 billion baht worth of imports from Saudi Arabia, down 28%. Thai exports to Saudi Arabia were estimated at US$926 million, up 12%.

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