In October 2003, Australia and Thailand finalised negotiations on a comprehensive free trade agreement. The text was formally signed by the two countries in July 2004 and came into force on 1 January 2005.

It was Thailand’s first FTA negotiated with an industrialised country and its first "comprehensive" FTA. This means it covers not only trade in goods, but also trade in services, protection of intellectual property and new privileges for investors.

It was Australia’s second FTA with an ASEAN country. (Singapore came first.) It promised Australian companies increased export opportunities in several sectors, such as dairy products and motor vehicles, and new inroads into Thailand’s very large and growing services economy.

The Thailand-Australia deal, or TAFTA as it is sometimes called, has had negative impacts on Thailand, especially in the fisheries and agricultural sectors.

Australia has banned Thai shrimp in the guise of food safety concerns and slapped new tariffs on Thai tuna that exceeded the deal’s quota. Additionally, many reports show that the increase in Australian dairy imports has put many Thai dairy farmers out of business. In 2011, the Thai government lobbied Australia to make it easier for food exports – and Thai chefs - to enter the country under TAFTA.

last update: May 2012


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  • 26-Jun-2015 AAP Calls for reform in Thai-Aust trade pact
    Thailand faces pressure to open its highly protected dairy and beef markets to Australian exporters under the decades-old Thai-Australia free trade pact.
  • 3-Feb-2011 The Nation Thailand seeks adjustment on Australia FTA
    Thailand will soon start talks with Australia on opening up the two countries’ markets to more goods and services under their five-year-old free-trade agreement.
  • 3-Aug-2008 FTAs crash into Australian car makers
    The Bracks review of the car industry is expected to urge the Federal Government to take a stronger line in negotiating free trade agreements after the review’s hearings became a flashpoint for dissent over the Thai free trade agreement (FTA).
  • 12-Feb-2008 Bangkok Post Canberra wants Thai services sector opened
    The Australian government will negotiate for greater opening of Thailand’s services sector this year under the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement
  • 7-Dec-2006 Bangkok Post Shrimpers cry foul over new Australia ban
    Thai shrimpers yesterday submitted a letter to protest against Australia’s ban on shrimp imports even before its import risk analysis is completed. Viewing the move as unfair, Thai officials will also discuss the issue at a forum on the Thailand-Australia free trade agreement next week.
  • 7-Sep-2006 Thai tuna import tariff to double
    Australia will increase tariffs on canned tuna and canned pineapple from Thailand after the finding that they had exceeded quotas under the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
  • 11-Jun-2006 Bangkok Post FTA hurting Thai farmers
    A recent study led by Thammasat University academic Rangsan Thanapornpan claims that the Australia-Thailand free trade agreement has benefited only a small group of industrialists, while people in the agricultural sector have been adversely affected.
  • 8-Mar-2006 FTA provides Thai opportunity
    The Western Australian office of Sea-Slip Marinas (Australia) Pty Ltd is bidding for more than $500,000 of contracts this year to provide marina pontoons in Thailand.
  • 12-Jan-2006 Asia Pulse Australia-Thailand free trade deal to be challenged in court
    Australia’s booming trade relations with Thailand are in doubt as a constitutional court challenge against the countries’ free trade pact looms in Bangkok.
  • 11-Jan-2006 Thai trade deal to be challenged
    Australia’s booming trade relations with Thailand are in doubt as a constitutional court challenge against the countries’ free trade pact looms in Bangkok.
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