Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

D10 / 19 July 2002

Australia-Thailand: Trade Negotiations - Call for Submissions

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Asia Trade Taskforce invites public submissions and comment on issues to be covered in trade negotiations between Australia and Thailand.

Prime Minister Howard and Prime Minister Thaksin of Thailand announced on 30 May that Australia and Thailand would commence negotiations to conclude a closer economic relations free trade agreement.

The announcement followed the completion of a Joint Scoping Study, released on 7 May, which examined the potential benefits for both countries in strengthening the trade and economic relationship.

The aim of the negotiations is to liberalise trade in goods and services, to facilitate trade and economic links and to address government-level impediments to increased commercial exchanges.

Formal negotiations are expected to commence in August/September. No deadline has been set for the completion of the negotiations, but progress will be reviewed in late 2003.

The Asia Trade Taskforce has been established within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to lead and coordinate the Government's approach to the negotiations with Thailand. The Taskforce will accord a high priority to the views and expertise of different groups on issues to be covered by the negotiations. It will consult widely, including with business, academia and the general public, as it develops Australia's negotiating position.

Submissions can be lodged electronically at thailand-fta@dfat.gov.au or to:

The Asia Trade Taskforce
Trade Development Division
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
BARTON ACT 0221

Telephone enquiries: (02) 6261 3883, 6261 3929 or 6261 3979.

Fax: (02) 6261 3965

Submissions should be lodged by 30 September. Further information on the issues likely to be covered in the negotiations, including the text of the Joint Scoping Study, can be found at the Department's website, http://www.dfat.gov.au/trade/negotiations/australia_thailand.html.

Media Inquiries: Nicole Guihot 02 6261 1555