Australia to pursue trade pact with Thailand.
SYDNEY, April 6 Kyodo
Australia will pursue free-trade negotiations with Thailand as a part of a move towards strengthening economic ties with Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, region of Asia (1990 est. pop. 442,500,000), c.1,740,000 sq mi (4,506,600 sq km), bounded roughly by the Indian subcontinent on the west, China on the north, and the Pacific Ocean on the east. , Trade Minister Mark Vaile Mark Anthony James Vaile (born 18 April 1956), Australian politician, is Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and Leader of the National Party of Australia. He has been a member of the Australian House of Representatives since March 1993, representing the Division of Lyne, New South said Friday.
Vaile, who is in Washington to explore the possibility of a free-trade pact with the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , said Australia was prepared to take advantage of opportunities provided by countries with similar ideas on free trade.
Australia has already begun negotiations on an agreement with Singapore.
''We've got a very strong focus on strengthening our economic relationship with all the ASEAN ASEAN: see Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
in full Association of Southeast Asian Nations
International organization established by the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand in (Association of South East Asian Nations) countries,'' he told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.
''At the same time we're negotiating with Singapore. If we get the opportunity to move to the next stage with Thailand, we'll do the same there. It's all about building a much stronger relationship within our region...ultimately we'll move right across the region.''
The Australian Financial Review reported Friday the newly elected Thai government signaled its support for a bilateral trade pact A trade pact is a wide ranging tax, tariff and trade pact that often includes investment guarantees. Trade pacts are frequently politically contentious since they may change economic customs and deepen interdependence with trade partners. during a meeting between Foreign Minister Surakiat Sathirathai and his Australian counterpart Alexander Downer in Chile last week.