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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
Photo: Mr.Niwat Tantayanusorn,Ph.D./CC BY 2.0

FTA BACKLASH: Trade talk details to be revealed
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Landmark deal signed - Thaksin, Howard praise FTA accord
Australia and Thailand yesterday signed a landmark free trade deal heralded as an important step towards Australia and New Zealand’s inclusion in a Southeast Asian free trade zone.
Farmers to lobby King over FTA
Dairy farmers across the country have pledged to petition His Majesty the King for help as part of their objection to the government’s freetrade agreement (FTA) with Australia, the chairman of a dairy farmer’s cooperative group said yesterday.
Shin Satellite denies benefiting from pact
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THAI-AUSTRALIA FTA: 1,500 dairy farmers to protest
Around 1,500 farmers from 10 dairy co-operatives will gather at Kasetsart University today to repeat their call for the government to withdraw dairy products from the free-trade agreement with Australia.
Thailand Trade Talks with Australia Wraps Up
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