Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Thailand misses chance to join CPTPP this year

Aug 06. 2020
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By The Nation

Thailand’s chief trade negotiator said the country had missed its chance to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) this year.

Thailand had not applied for membership at yesterday’s (August 5) annual meeting of CPTPP members and would have to wait till next August’s meeting to apply, Trade Negotiations Department director-general Auramon Supthaweethu told the Cabinet.

Auramon is also a member of the committee tasked with studying the benefits of CPTPP membership, which she says will boost Thai GDP by 0.12 per cent or Bt13.3 billion with investments up 5.14 per cent and exports up 3.47 per cent, citing a Commerce Ministry study.

However, the committee is still split on whether joining the 11-member trade pact will benefit Thailand.

“The committee has one common opinion: we will join the CPTPP when we are ready,” said fellow commission member Weerakorn Khampragob. “Therefore, when the director-general of the Department of Trade Negotiations under the Commerce Ministry said that Thailand did not make it in time to join [this year], the committee felt relieved since they haven’t all agreed yet.”

Weerakorn cited concerns that farmers would lose out under CPTPP rules which prevent farmers from saving and reusing commercial seed.

Prapat Panyachatraksa, chairman of the National Farmers Council, was happy with the result and said Thai farmers were not yet ready to join the trade pact.

The committee has been given until September 10 to finish its study on CPTPP membership.

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