(QldGovSpin) Beattie First To Meet Thai Prime Minister Since Trade Agreement

Submitted by Editor on Fri, 23/07/2004 - 22:52

Bangkok: Premier Peter Beattie has scored another win for Queensland, becoming the first Australian leader to hold trade talks with Thailand Prime Minister Dr Thaksin Shinawatra since the signing of the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement earlier this month.

Premier & Trade, Peter Beattie


"Thailand has a market of about 63 million people - three times the size of Australia - and the fact that it is now starting to offer a level playing field for our exporters made this an important meeting," said Mr Beattie.

Mr Beattie was also the first Australian leader to hold trade talks with Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong after the signing of the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

He recently became the first Australian leader to meet Brazilian President Luis Inacio da Silva when they talked about developing an ethanol industry in Queensland and was the first Australian leader to hold talks with Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid after East Timor's independence.

"Thailand is an important trading partner," said Mr Beattie.

"High tariffs have been a key reason why Thai buyers have not favoured Australian products in the past.

"With the agreement eliminating or reducing Thai tariffs from January next year on more than 5,000 tariff items, it was important from me to give Queensland exporters the edge by getting in early.

"When I met with Dr Shinawatra I told him about the Smart State vision we have for Queensland and how there were many opportunities arising out of a knowledge-based economy that would be of benefit to Thailand businesses.

"I told him about Queensland's smarts in knowledge intensive sectors like agri-business, agri-bio, education and training, all areas of significance for Thailand.

"Queensland's automotive aftercare sector also stands to benefit from the lowering of tariffs for products from 1 January 2005.

"The majority of the global automotive manufacturers operate plants in Thailand and the lowering of tariffs opens the door for Queensland exporters in this sector to access them more easily."

Mr Beattie is leading a trade and investment mission to China, Hong Kong and Thailand.

Media inquiries: Premier's Office 3224 4500



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