Says transpacific partnership trade scheme is not good for the Kingdom
PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday brushed off an idea to link trade negotiations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) scheme with the placement of Thailand in Tier 3 of the trafficking in persons (TIP) report, saying the scheme was not good for Thailand.
“What will we get and what will we lose if we join the scheme [in exchange for a better placement]?” he said.
“We would be pressured on drug patents and other [trade issues].
“I don’t know, maybe the previous government wanted to join [the TPP] but I don’t buy that,” he said.
“But don’t blame them [the previous government], it is not a political [ploy]. I would say only we have to accept and comply with the rules and solve the problem.”
Prayut said he would not argue or create any dispute with the US over the TIP report but would continue to combat human trafficking.
“Thailand has investigated, prosecuted and convicted more than 100 traffickers,” he said. “Look what we did and what the other country which was upgraded from Tier 3 did. I don’t need to say anything, we [are doing] our part,” he said.
Army to follow guidelines
Army chief General Udomdej Sitabutr said the Army and security units would continue to follow the government’s strict anti-human trafficking regulations. The commitment was made even as the US decided to maintain Thailand on Tier 3 in its human trafficking report, he told reporters, before visiting the troops in the South of Thailand.
General Udomdej is confident Thailand will improve its rating for cracking down on human trafficking in the next round of evaluations, as the responsible agencies were doing their best to address the issue.
Social Development and Human Security Ministry permanent secretary Wichian Chavalit said the placement of Thailand in Tier 3 for another year would not change anything in the fight against human trafficking.
The government will not solve the trafficking problem for a better rating in the TIP report but for our own sake, he said.
“But, if you asked why Thailand remained on the lowest level, I would say there were two groups of countries in Tier 3; the backward countries and enemies of the US,” he said.
“For us, we [made much] progress over the past year.”
However Thailand remained with three unsolved problems in dealing with the prosecution of traffickers, he said.
“We have problems finding the victims, the data base and witnesses for the prosecution,” he said.
In the eastern coastal province of Rayong, Pol Colonel Saneh Janyasathit, the deputy provincial police chief, called a meeting of agencies in the province to seek a solution for illegal fishing and for illegal migrants working in the fishery sector.
Opas Prasong, president of the Klang Fishery Association in the province complained that officials only talked about regulations but the authorities could not provide sufficient services to help fishing trawlers comply with the regulations.
“The authorities demand that we check our fishing boats but we have to wait in the queue for a long time to have them checked, which wastes a lot of time,” he said.