Thailand: Another 3 months of studies, followed by CPTPP decision

  • The government plans to take three months to decide whether Thailand should apply to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), according to the International Economic Policy Committee.
  • The cabinet agreed in May 20 to set up house standing panels to look into and consider whether Thailand should sign up to the controversial Asia-Pacific trade agreement, amid widespread concerns of harm to the agriculture sector.
  • The decision came after it decided in Apr 20 to shelve a decision on CPTPP membership following stiff opposition from politicians, civil society groups and prominent social figures who said it would hurt the economy, particularly the agricultural and healthcare sectors.
  • The panels were required to submit their studies within 30 days. They were supposed to submit their studies in early Jul 20, but they asked for another 60-day extension. The new deadline was in early Sep 20.
  • Decisions on whether to join the pact should be made by the government before August, which is when the CPTPP meeting is scheduled.
  • A source from Government House who requested anonymity said studies by the house standing panels showed the CPTPP would deal a heavy blow to small-scale Thai farmers if Thailand becomes a member of The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 1991), as required by the CPTPP.
  • The government should speed up upgrading laws and regulations to protect varieties of Thai plants and biodiversity, the source said.

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