Thailand rushes to complete studies on CPTPP pact

  • The Finance Ministry is speeding up its study on the pros and cons of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), as well as working on protective measures to cushion against the impact of the pact if Thailand decides to join.
  • Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said he sees greater opportunities to expand exports if Thailand joins the CPTPP.
  • Mr Arkhom, as chairman of a working panel in charge of the CPTPP study on government and state enterprise procurement, said the complete findings will be forwarded to the International Trade Policy Committee and the cabinet for approval.
  • In March, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha ordered related agencies to submit by the middle of Apr 21 final CPTPP studies so the government can decide whether to join.
  • In Apr 20, the cabinet shelved 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 cabinet agreed in May 20 to set up house standing panels to mull joining the pact, amid widespread concern about harm to the agriculture sector.
  • The panels were required to submit their studies within 30 days, in early Jul 20, but they asked for a 60-day extension. The studies found the CPTPP would deal a heavy blow to small farmers if Thailand becomes a member of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 1991), as required by the deal.
  • The government is being urged to accelerate upgrading laws and regulations to protect varieties of Thai plants and biodiversity.

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