Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra indicated Thursday that Thailand may conclude a free trade agreement with Japan, but without including the agricultural sector.

“Concluding the FTA does not necessarily mean all sectors must be involved, so we believe it is better to start with sectors that would incur no problems,” Thaksin said at an international forum at a Tokyo hotel.

Thailand, a major exporter of rice and other agricultural products, is pushing ahead with free trade pacts with several other countries, including China, India and Australia.

“We want to sign an FTA with Japan and we understand there are problems in the agricultural sector for the deal,” said Thaksin. “We can conclude it in areas without problems first, then handle other areas next after taking time for a while.”

Calling on Japan to facilitate its conclusion, Thaksin said the pact would increase trade, boost employment and help solve poverty.

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