Thailand asks Australia to slow down implementation of car emissions standards

SYDNEY: Thailand has called on Australia to slow down a plan to introduce emissions standards that would penalise imports of emissions intensive cars over fears it could hurt the South-East Asian country's automotive export industry.

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin made the request during a meeting with Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese at an Asean summit on Tuesday, according to a meeting readout published by the Thai government.

Australia is currently the only country in the OECD group of nations bar Russia without such standards.

Thailand exports over 200,000 vehicles annually to Australia, predominantly the emissions-heavy pick-up trucks at risk under new rules, the readout said.

Thailand is South-East Asia's largest car maker and plans to convert 30% of its 2.5 million unit annual production to electric vehicles by 2030.

On Wednesday, Albanese said the issue was not raised with Srettha and defended the new standards, which would start in 2025 under the government's preferred plan.

"Only two countries, two industrialised countries that don't have emissions standards," he said.

"One of them is Australia and the other is Vladimir Putin's Russia. I don't want to be on the same page as Russia on this or any other issue."

The opposition Liberal Party has campaigned against the rules and said they will raise prices and lead to fewer options for the pick-up trucks popular in Australia.

The Federal Chamber of automotive Industries, the main car industry lobby group, said on Wednesday it supported fuel standards but they needed to be balanced and realistic to avoid unaffordable price increases and accommodate consumer choice
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