Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

8 May 2009

Visit to Australia by Thai Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Kasit Piromya for Inaugural Australia - Thailand Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, HE Mr Kasit Piromya, will visit Perth today, Friday 8 May to join me in conducting the inaugural Australia-Thailand Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation.

The Joint Commission is the principal forum for the Australia - Thailand bilateral relationship.

The Joint Commission will provide an opportunity to strengthen our cooperation under the framework of our Agreement on Bilateral Cooperation, signed in 2004. 

This will be my first meeting with Mr Kasit, who was appointed Thailand's Foreign Minister in December last year.  I made an official visit to Thailand in July last year.

Thailand is a longstanding friend and regional partner of Australia.  Thailand is currently chair of ASEAN.

People-to-people links between Australia and Thailand are growing rapidly, with over 22,000 Thai student enrolments in Australia in 2008, making Australia the preferred destination for Thai students studying overseas. 

In 2008 some 700,000 Australians visited Thailand, and almost 80,000 Thais visited Australia.

Thailand is now Australia's eighth largest two-way trading partner.  Our trading relationship is underpinned by the Thailand Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), in force since 2005, and will be further enhanced by the recently signed ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA).

Australia and Thailand cooperate closely across a range of areas of mutual interest, including security, combating transnational crime such as people smuggling and drug trafficking, defence, counter-terrorism, trade and investment, education, migration and tourism.

During the Joint Commission Mr Kasit and I will also discuss a range of regional and global issues, including the region's response to combating people smuggling and trafficking, the need for democratic reform in Burma and the continuing requirement for close cooperation in response to the global financial crisis.

I will also discuss recent political events in Thailand with Mr Kasit and express Australia's hope that the postponed East Asia Summit will be reconvened soon.

Media inquiries: