Thai Commerce Ministry pushing for cabinet approval for joining CPTPP – http://en.vietnamplus.vn/

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Bangkok (VNA) – The Commerce Ministry of Thailand is pushing for cabinet approval for the country’s bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) amid fierce opposition from civil groups which have argued the move will have an adverse impact on food security and access to medicines, local media reported.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit has forwarded a proposal for Thailand’s bid to join the pact to the cabinet through the Secretariat of the Cabinet, the Bangkok Post quoted Auramon Supthaweethum, Director-General of the Trade Negotiations Department under the Commerce Ministry, as saying.

However, it is still not known if the matter will be put on the agenda of a cabinet meeting tomorrow, Auramon said.

The International Economic Policy Committee previously assigned the department to prepare the proposal after a study on the pros and cons of the CPTPP impact was completed.

According to Auramon, the study has taken into account all related issues, particularly access to medicines and compulsory licensing under the agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights among member nations of the World Trade Organisation.

If Thailand does not join the pact, it will lose an opportunity and be overtaken by neighbouring countries Singapore and Vietnam which have already joined the pact, she said.

Meanwhile, Thai farmers and civil society organisations expressed concerns about the impact of the new pact’s intellectual property provisions, which prevent them from saving and reusing seeds that contain patented plant materials. But officials insist farmers would still have the right to collect and reuse seeds, but only for non-commercial purposes.

Critics have also been concerned about some CPTPP provisions’ impact on access to affordable medicines as access to medicines is related to the protection of intellectual property rights and patents.

A study by Bolliger & Company Thailand, which was hired by the department, found participation in the CPTPP would boost Thailand’s GDP by 0.12 percentage points in revenue a year.

The CPTPP is a trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam./.