Thursday, August 13, 2020

Thailand urged to urgently sign CPTPP, free trade pacts to protect itself

Jun 10. 2020
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By THE NATION

Thailand’s Board of Trade (BoT) has suggested that the government either join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) or sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union as soon as possible before foreign investors start flocking to other countries like Vietnam.

Buntoon Wongseelashote, vice chairman of the BoT committee on International Trade Negotiations, warned that Thailand will face problems if it joins the CPTPP partnership after the United States becomes a member.

He said if Democrat Jo Biden beats Donald Trump in the US presidential elections, then he may pressure Thailand on the fronts of medicine patents and intellectual property if the Kingdom is not a member of the partnership.

“If Thailand is the member before the US, Thailand can negotiate the US a 10- to 15-year delay in the enforcement of medical patenting and other such regulations,” he said. “This period is long enough for our nation to improve our economy and technology, so they meet international standards.”

Buntoon added that the domestic market of each country will become more important, and Thailand should sign partnerships to hold an advantage over its competitors.

“In 2019, Thailand attracted $6 billion in foreign investment, compared to $3.3 billion in Vietnam,” he added. “If Thailand does not sign FTAs and CPTPP, foreign investors will think twice about investing in Thailand or may instead invest in the S-curve industries of other countries.”

He also said that the US-China trade conflict will intensify after the Covid-19 crisis is resolved, and the US may block China from investing in other countries like Thailand. In this scenario, Chinese investors will delay investing in Thailand, while investors from other countries will opt for Vietnam.

“The US will block China from investing in Thailand instead of Vietnam, because the latter already has territorial conflicts with the mainland,” he added.

 

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