Thailand is seriously interested in the huge market covering many countries from the north to the south to be formed by the US-initiated Trans-Pacific Partnership.
"The Thai government will urgently decide whether to join the pact soon. Otherwise, Thailand may be left behind its competitors," Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom said yesterday.
The Trade Negotiations Department is rushing to conduct a feasibility study on the anticipated gains and losses from joining the TPP.
The United States and eight other countries are in negotiations on establishing the multilateral free-trade agreement, including four from Asean – Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.
Meanwhile, Thailand is also planning to tighten trade and investment cooperation with Mozambique.
After meeting with Mozambican Ambassador Carlos Agostinho do Rosario, Boonsong said the two countries were planning to sign an agreement to promote mutual trade and investment.
It will emphasise the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers, cooperation on exchanging natural resources such as jewels, and the promotion of tourism and investment.
Boonsong plans to lead a delegation of government officials and business leaders to Mozambique next month.
Two-way trade and investment are still less than with other countries. There are great opportunities for Thai traders and businesses to explore this emerging market, as the economy is growing and the country is rich in natural resources, he said.
According to the ministry, Thai exports to Mozambique soared 40.8 per cent to US$158 million (Bt4.9 billion) last year. Major exports were rice, iron, polymers, cement, motor vehicles, and wheat products and foods.
Australian Ambassador James Wise has also proposed the expansion of its bilateral free-trade agreement with Thailand to include New Zealand.
Boonsong said the Thai government would carefully consider the proposal in order to foster trade, investment and cooperation aggressively among the three partners.