October 22, 2003
Australian-Thai Trade Pact Could Lift Wheat Exports
A free trade agreement between Australia and Thailand announced Sunday could boost Australian wheat exports, Andrew Lindberg, AWB Ltd.'s managing director, said Wednesday.
Under the FTA, which is expected to be signed next year during a visit here by Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Thai tariffs on wheat and grains will be eliminated.
Australian wheat exports to Thailand currently attract a duty of THB1 a kilogram, equating to US$25 a metric ton, Lindberg said.
Australia supplies 250,000-300,000 tons of wheat a year to Thailand, meeting about 40% of its needs, with the U.S. providing the main competition, he said.
"With the elimination of tariffs, Australia's exports have the potential to increase even further," he said in a statement.
Wheat consumption in Thailand is about 7 kilograms a year a person, but consumption of wheat-based products such as noodles, breads, cakes and biscuits is increasing, he said.
AWB also supplies wheat as feed for Thailand's thriving shrimp industry.
The FTA with Thailand improves Australia's position in Asia, where AWB wants to increase wheat market share, he said.