One of the biggest stories in the Australian press today is the closure of Mitsubishi’s Adelaide plant with the loss of 930 jobs. The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

A spokesman for Mitsubishi at its headquarters in Tokyo, Kai Inada, said the company could not see any recovery for larger cars like the 380 and the high Australian dollar had substantially increased production costs. “The reality is we can make cars more cheaply elsewhere,” Mr Inada said.

A report in the Bangkok Post makes it clear where elsewhere is:

Mitsubishi Motors anounced in Tokyo on Tuesday that it will close down a struggling plant in Australia with 930 layoffs, then expand its lower-cost operations in Thailand. Australia in 2005 entered a free-trade pact with Thailand, enabling rival Japanese automakers using the Southeast Asian nation as a manufacturing hub to export to Australia without tariffs. “We have been reinforcing the production capacity of our Thai plant from the end of last year and intend to move to full production,” Mitsubishi’s chief financial officer Hiizu Ichikawa told a press conference in Japan.

It may not make Thai dairy farmers feel much better but the impacts of free trade can cut both ways.