Today, April 4, 2002, Minister of Commerce Adisai and U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert B. Zoellick met on the occasion of the meeting between ASEAN Economic Ministers and USTR to discuss a wide range of trade issues. They agreed on the importance of Thailand to the region. They announced their intention to continue discussions on a Trade and Investment Framework (TIFA) which would promote the liberalization of trade and investment, address the full range of trade issues, including consultations on the elements of a possible free trade arrangement between them. They viewed the TIFA as a means of enhancing bilateral two-way trade and to demonstrate their commitment to building a strategic partnership for mutual growth and prosperity.
Minister Adisai and Ambassador Zoellick agreed to continue the constructive role of both countries in the launch of the Doha Development Agenda. They reaffirmed their intention to continue to work together in advancing global trade negotiations. They also discussed ways APEC could contribute to regional trade liberalization and advance work in the WTO.
Ambassador Zoellick expressed his appreciation for Thailand's willingness to host the ASEAN Economic Ministers-USTR meeting, the first formal session in over a decade. This meeting signified the strong U.S. interest and commitment to the ASEAN region.
Minister Adisai and Ambassador Zoellick affirmed the importance of regular ministerial discussions on trade issues. They directed their staffs to begin work on the TIFA, which would establish a Council, jointly chaired by the Minister of Commerce of Thailand and the United States Trade Representative.