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Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin Elevates Thailand’s Trade with AANZFTA and Saudi Arabia Partnerships

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Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is on a mission to supercharge Thailand’s economic ties, pledging to enhance cooperation under the Asean-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA). Government spokesman Chai Wacharonke made the announcement after delegates from the Commerce Ministry and the Department of Trade Negotiations (DTN) participated in the 21st AANZFTA Joint Committee Meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, from May 26-31.

With the goal of keeping current markets strong while also seeking new economic partners, Prime Minister Srettha is committed to fostering robust international economic alliances. This initiative aligns with a broader strategy to adapt to global changes and leverage new economic models.

The essence of these efforts lies in an expanded AANZFTA, which is set to be launched this year. This upgraded agreement aims to ease trading restrictions, streamline tax measures, and shore up economic cooperation. Such efforts are expected to provide a significant boost to Thailand’s domestic economy, making it more resilient and competitive on the global stage.

Key agenda items at the meeting included revising tax reduction obligations, improving investment regulations, and creating a comprehensive Rules of Origin handbook. There was also a strong focus on regional collaboration to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and enhance the role of women in business. These discussions underscore a commitment to fostering inclusive economic growth that benefits all sectors of society.

“Prime Minister Srettha sees AANZFTA as a pivotal platform for elevating Thailand’s international trade volumes,” the spokesman noted. This optimistic outlook is backed by statistics from the DTN. From January to April, Australia and New Zealand ranked 7th and 31st among Thailand’s largest trading partners, respectively. During this time, bilateral trade between Thailand and these two nations reached an impressive US$7.1 billion, reflecting a growth of 0.74% from the same period last year.

Specifically, Thailand’s exports to Australia surged by 22%, totaling US$4.1 billion. The primary exports included automobiles, auto parts, air conditioners, and computers and their components. Similarly, exports to New Zealand amounted to US$529 million, marking a 17% increase. The mainstay exports were similar to those sent to Australia, showcasing the consistency and reliability of Thailand’s export sectors.

Meanwhile, there’s more exciting news on the horizon. Saudi Arabia has green-lighted the import of live cattle, sheep, and goats from Thailand. Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai revealed that the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has officially given the nod through both Saudi Arabian and Thai foreign ministries.

This new development allows importers and exporters to secure permits for the trade via the Naama Platform of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture. This follows an earlier approval by the Saudi Arabian Food and Drug Authority, which allowed Thai chicken exporters to ship fresh, processed, and cooked chicken to all checkpoints in Saudi Arabia.

Trade relations between Thailand and Saudi Arabia already demonstrate strong numbers. Last year, the trade value between the two countries totaled an impressive US$8.79 billion, with imports from Saudi Arabia accounting for $6.13 billion. For the first four months of this year alone, trade hit $2.59 billion. Although this was a 17% decline year-on-year, Thai exports to Saudi Arabia showed a promising increase of 12%, reaching an estimated US$926 million. In contrast, imports from Saudi Arabia were valued at 66 billion baht, down by 28%.

All these developments collectively weave a vibrant tapestry of growth and collaboration. They highlight Thailand’s ambition to scale new heights in international trade, making the country a critical player in the global economic arena. With this proactive approach, the future looks bright for Thailand’s international trade and economic partnerships, promising a cascade of benefits for its domestic economy and its trading partners across the globe.


  1. Jack June 16, 2024

    It’s great to see Thailand pushing for stronger trade ties, especially with Australia and New Zealand. This should bring more economic stability.

    • CriticFTW June 16, 2024

      I’m skeptical. Every time a government talks about ‘economic stability,’ it ends up being just talk and no real benefits for the common people.

      • Jack June 16, 2024

        Fair point, but if the measures result in actual job creation and better trade terms, doesn’t it benefit everyone in the long run?

      • Devoted_Academic June 16, 2024

        While skepticism is healthy, historical data shows these types of agreements can indeed lead to enhanced economic outcomes when properly managed. For example, look at the EU’s internal trade mechanisms.

  2. Meera Sharma June 16, 2024

    The focus on SMEs and women in business is commendable. Often these groups are overlooked in such high-level trade discussions.

    • Eduardo June 16, 2024

      Totally agree. This could mean real opportunities for local entrepreneurs and start-ups, which are the backbone of many economies.

      • Meera Sharma June 16, 2024

        Exactly! Inclusion isn’t just a moral imperative; it’s economically smart. More diverse participation leads to more innovation.

    • SkeptikKid June 17, 2024

      But how will they ensure these SMEs and women actually benefit? Policies are one thing, enforcement is another.

  3. Samantha June 16, 2024

    Impressive to see 22% increase in exports to Australia. Thailand must be doing something right!

    • Realist42 June 16, 2024

      Yes, but let’s not overlook the fact that trade with Saudi Arabia has declined by 28%. Not everything is rosy.

    • Gordon Freeman June 16, 2024

      Agree with Realist42. Keeping both perspectives in mind is crucial. Gains in one area don’t always offset losses in another.

  4. Intellect721 June 16, 2024

    The revision of tax obligations and investment regulations is essential. It might attract more foreign investors to Thailand.

    • mathGenius June 16, 2024

      True, but foreign investment often comes with strings attached. Countries need to be careful not to give away too much.

  5. Jonas June 16, 2024

    I’m wondering if these new trade agreements will have any environmental impact. Increased trade usually means more resource extraction and pollution.

  6. Laura Davis June 17, 2024

    Saudi Arabia allowing the import of live animals from Thailand is a big deal. It shows growing trust between the countries.

  7. TradeExpert89 June 17, 2024

    These figures show the complexity and dynamism of international trade. It’s encouraging to see Thailand taking proactive steps.

    • Sarah J June 17, 2024

      Absolutely. Adapting to global changes is vital for any country to stay competitive.

  8. GeekyMike June 17, 2024

    So what’s the catch? Every time there’s a new trade deal, the average consumer seems to end up paying more.

  9. ThaiPride June 17, 2024

    Thailand has always been known for its robust export sectors. This is another feather in our cap.

    • Katya June 17, 2024

      Yeah, as long as the benefits trickle down to the general population and not just big corporations.

  10. IronMan54 June 17, 2024

    Prime Minister Srettha seems genuinely invested in these efforts. His commitment could make a real difference.

    • Disillusioned June 17, 2024

      That’s what they always say when a new initiative starts. Time will tell if this is just typical political posturing.

  11. Lily Huang June 17, 2024

    Improving the Rules of Origin handbook could simplify a lot of administrative hurdles for exporters.

  12. SaraM June 17, 2024

    Great to see efforts to improve women’s roles in business. It’s high time!

    • Tomas June 17, 2024

      Agreed. Economic empowerment for women can lead to broader social changes.

  13. TechSavvy June 17, 2024

    I’m curious if these efforts will include advancements in technology and digital trade.

  14. GreenEconomist June 17, 2024

    Environmental impacts should definitely be part of these trade discussions. Future generations will thank us.

  15. John K June 17, 2024

    Partnership with Saudi Arabia seems risky given their human rights record. Is this really the path Thailand should be taking?

    • GlobalCitizen June 17, 2024

      Every country has to balance ethics and economics to some extent. It’s not an easy question to answer.

  16. Bobby June 17, 2024

    I think this is just another example of globalization. Whether that’s good or bad for Thailand remains to be seen.

  17. Larry Davis June 17, 2024

    I appreciate how these new agreements are aiming to support SMEs. These businesses are often the true lifeblood of an economy.

  18. Lisa Whitman June 17, 2024

    Any idea how the common Thai citizen feels about these new trade agreements? It’d be interesting to hear local opinions.

  19. OldMan42 June 17, 2024

    I’m old enough to remember when we were cautioned about trade deficits. Are these deals addressing that at all?

  20. GlobalWatcher June 17, 2024

    Diversifying Thailand’s international relationships is crucial, especially with the unpredictable global economy.

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