AFTINET submission to the Implementation Agenda for the Strategic Economic Cooperation Arrangement (SECA) between Australia and Thailand

May 8, 2023: The Implementation Agenda for the Strategic Economic Cooperation Arrangement (SECA) between Australia and Thailand (SECA) will sit alongside the existing Thai - Australia FTA agreed in 2005, which is not being reviewed. Instead the strategy will develop new areas of cooperation for expanding trade and investment.

Our submission notes that the strategy makes no mention of human rights, labour rights or environmental standards, which were not included in the FTA. It argues that the strategy should include the Government’s goals consisting of justice and equality, sharing the benefits of increased trade and investment, and the need to reduce carbon emissions,. The submission notes that Thailand is also involved in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). This is also not a traditional trade agreement. However, human rights, labour rights and environmental standards are included in the IPEF negotiating goals,

The submission provides evidence of deficits in both commitments and implementation of human rights and labour rights in Thailand. It suggests why and how both countries should make commitments to these standards. The submission recognises that Thailand may require cooperation and support to implement these standards over time, including specific support from Australia’s Official Development Assistance programs. Ultimately these and environmental standards should be included in the Thai-Australia FTA.

See the full submission here.