The contracting parties commit to work towards the abolition of agricultural export subsidies in the WTO. The agreement provides for bilateral consultations on policies that could affect trade in food or agricultural products. The Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) came into force on 1 January 2005. This agreement ensures better access to the Thai market for Australian products, improves the trading prospects for services and investments, improves the regulatory and investment environment and promotes business mobility. While the agreement brings significant benefits to the Australian automotive industry by reducing tariffs, the Committee recognizes the importance of removing non-tariff barriers and notes Ford Motor Company`s statement that, as part of the agreement, neither country will take steps to limit bilateral imports or exports unless authorized by WTO rules or other provisions of the agreement. In these circumstances, non-tariff measures must be transparent and should not be aimed at creating unnecessary barriers to trade.31 As part of the agreement, dispute resolution must be subject to a “fair, transparent, timely and effective” procedure.161 If these fail, disputes can be referred to an arbitration tribunal. The tribunal will consist of three members, one of which is appointed by each party, and the third (presidency) appointed by both members.162 Although it has often been established that the Australian and Thai automotive industries offer some degree of complementarity, it is clear that this has not been fully reflected in the increase in bilateral trade in automotive products. This is largely due to the extent of tariff and non-tariff barriers that Australian exporters have had to face so far to ensure access to the Thai market. It is also important that the free trade agreement can form the basis for a permanent focus on relevant non-tariff barriers and clear management of rules of origin.85 Overall, the free trade agreement with the Australia Free Trade Agreement is considered to be mixed for horticulture. The results form the basis for the development of trade in horticultural products with Thailand, which intensifies over time, with trade being fully liberalized.
These results are superior to the “pre-FTA” case. These results should also enable market access to be achieved earlier than could be achieved in the Doha Round, where agreement on a market access approach has been one of the most difficult themes.33 Negotiations on trade agreements with Thailand and Singapore may have contributed to ASEAN`s recent invitation for Australia and New Zealand to participate in this year`s Laos summit. but their contribution is offset by the change in political direction in Malaysia. The ACTU doubts the multilateral importance of this agreement.17 The Australian Union of Manufacturing Workers (AMWU) also expressed concerns to the Committee that tariff reductions would be at the expense of Australian industry.
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