PM plans more regional cooperation at trade meet
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PM plans more regional cooperation at trade meet

Government spokesman Chai Wacharonke
Government spokesman Chai Wacharonke

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has pledged to elevate cooperation under the Asean-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), keep existing markets, and secure new economic partners, government spokesman Chai Wacharonke said on Sunday.

The announcement came after delegates from the Commerce Ministry and the Department of Trade Negotiations (DTN) joined the 21st Asean-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement Joint Committee (FJC) Meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, on May 26–31.

Mr Srettha is promoting economic ties with foreign countries, seeking new investment opportunities, and maintaining existing trade alliances, he said.

The premier, he said, stands ready to elevate Thailand's AANZFTA cooperation to keep abreast with the changing global situation under a framework of new models of economic ties.

Thailand also pledged to support an expanded AANZFTA set to be launched this year.

The latest free trade talks have helped to ease trade limitations and ease tax measures. They are also expected to enhance economic cooperation while boosting the domestic economy.

The meeting also included discussions on agenda items highlighted in the agreements, such as updating tax reduction obligations, improving investment regulations, preparing a comprehensive Rules of Origin handbook, promoting activities to tighten regional collaboration to develop small and medium-sized enterprises and increasing the roles of women in businesses.

"Mr Srettha sees AANZFTA as a great opportunity to lift the country's international trading volumes," he added.

According to the DTN, from January to April, Australia and New Zealand were ranked as Thailand's seventh and 31st biggest trading partners respectively.

During that period, Thailand's trade with Australia and New Zealand came to US$7.1 billion, up 0.74% from the same period last year.

Thailand's exports to Australia were worth US$4.1 billion baht, an increase of 22%. The main exports were automobiles, auto parts and accessories, air conditioners, and computers and computer parts.

The country's exports to New Zealand during the period were valued at US$529 million, up 17%. Thailand chiefly exported similar items to those exported to Australia.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has given the green light to the import of live cattle, sheep and goats from Thailand, according to the commerce minister.

Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai said that the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture conveyed the approval through the Saudi Arabian and Thai foreign ministries.

The live animals could be imported from Thailand and then kept and slaughtered in Saudi Arabia, he said.

Importers and exporters can seek permits for the trade at the Naama Platform of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture.

Mr Phumtham said that earlier the Saudi Arabia Food and Drug Authority allowed Thai chicken exporters to export fresh, processed and cooked chicken to Saudi Arabia through all checkpoints there.

Last year trade value between Thailand and Saudi Arabia amounted to US$8.79 billion, including imports from Saudi Arabia worth $6.13 billion.

For the first four months of this year, it was $2.59 billion, down by 17% year-on-year, including 66 billion baht worth of imports from Saudi Arabia, down by 28%. Thai exports to Saudi Arabia were estimated at $926 million, up 12%.

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