Obama visit: Trade talks

Obama trip will feature talks to free up Thai-US trade as well as marking 180 years of relations between US & Thailand.

US President Barack Obama addresses a crowd of supporters on stage on election night November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad



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Thailand to join TPP talks

Critics call pact a tactic by US to counter China
13/11/2012
Pradit Ruangdit and Saritdet Marukatat

Thailand has agreed to join negotiations in a United States-led free trade agreement (FTA) in a move which will be formally announced during President Barack Obama's visit here on Sunday.

Thailand's entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be a highlight of the visit by the US president amid concern by activists over the consequences of the far-reaching free trade pact.

The TPP is a proposed regional FTA being negotiated by the US and several Asia-Pacific nations, including Australia, Canada, Vietnam, Mexico and six other countries.

The agreement is aimed at liberalising trade in nearly all goods and services and includes commitments beyond those currently established in the World Trade Organisation.

The cabinet yesterday agreed to the proposal tabled by the Commerce Ministry to have Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announce the pact in a joint press statement with Mr Obama, the government said on its website.

The agreement would lead to fewer tariffs on Thai exports to the US and would eliminate Thailand's reliance on the America's Generalised System of Preferences.

The decision was attacked by FTA Watch, a non-governmental organisation which has monitored the free trade deal.

...The TPP negotiations were revitalised by the US in 2010. The talks will be concluded next year

With the exclusion of China, the move is seen by some as an attempt to counter the rising economic clout of Beijing and to assert more American influence on Asia...

[FTA Watch has warned of several possible negative impacts on Thailand.]

Thailand will struggle to gain access to affordable medicines under the pact as it gives drug manufacturers longer patent protection compared to international standards...

The US is pushing for more liberalisation of the service and investment sectors through the pact...

The agreement is part of a US tactic to create a trade bloc with other Asian countries to put pressure on China to play by America's rules, he said

Mr Obama's visit marks 180 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Fresh from his presidential election victory, Mr Obama will visit Thailand and Myanmar on his way to the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh...

(Source: Bangkok Post, Thailand to join TPP talks, Critics call pact a tactic by US to counter China, 13/11/2012, Pradit Ruangdit and Saritdet Marukatat, link

 
Trade Negotiation Vocabulary

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) - an expanded version of a free trade trade agreement to liberalize the economies of the Asia-Pacific region that first began in 2005 and was further expanded in 2007, NGOs such as FTA Watch has criticized the wide coverage of the agreement and controversial things included in it (See Wikipedia)

Thailand's entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

nation - a country, state ประเทศ, ประเทศชาติ
Asia-Pacific nations - including all the countries of Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Ocean, as well as the US, Canada and South America sometimes  (See Wikipedia and Pacific Rim Countries)

summit - a meeting or series of meetings between the leaders of two countries การประชุมสุดยอด
East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh - a summit will be held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 2012, the heads of state/heads of government of eighteen countries are expected to participate in the summit: Australia, Brunei, China, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, United States (See Wikipedia)

World Trade Organization (WTO) - an international organization, formed in 1995, that encourages and controls international trade and economic development (See Wikipedia)

FTA Watch - a Thai organization that monitors and reports on Free Trade Agreements (FTA) that Thailand has either signed or may sign in the future, as well as their possible negative impacts (See website)

Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) - an organization that helps some group of people in a country that is neither part of the government nor a profitmaking company (See Wikipedia)

Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) - a system outside of the WTO that lowers tariffs on least developed countries (See Wikipedia)

Least Developed Countries (LDCs)
- the group of poorest countries in the world (See Wikipedia)

negotiated - discussed the work and agreed on a price for doing it การเจรจาต่อรอง
negotiated by the US and several Asia-Pacific nations, including Australia, Canada, Vietnam, Mexico and six other countries

talks - negotiations, formal discussions of problems between different sides in a conflict in order to solve the problem
Thailand to join TPP talks

negotiations - formal discussion in which people or groups try to reach an agreement การเจรจาต่อรอง (See Wikipedia)
agreed to join negotiations

trade - the buying and selling of goods การค้าขาย
free trade - a system of international trade in which there are no restrictions or taxes on imports and exports

pact - an agreement
free trade pact - an agreement between countries to have "free trade"

free trade
agreement (FTA) - an agreement between a group of countries to end tariffs (taxes on imports) and other barriers to trade (See Wikipedia)
a United States-led
free trade agreement (FTA)

critic - a person who criticizes and finds faults and problems in something นักวิจารณ์
tactic - a particular method or plan for achieving something ยุทธวิธี
counter - to take action to oppose or stop something ต่อต้าน

Critics call pact a tactic by US to counter China

announce
- tell people about something important they should know about ประกาศ, ป่าวประกาศ  
formally announced

move - an action (something that someone does)
a move which will be formally announced during President Barack Obama's visit

highlight - the most exciting, impressive, or interesting part of an event จุดสำคัญ เรียกทับศัพท์ว่า ไฮไลท์ เน้น ย้ำความสำคัญ
a highlight of the visit by the US president

amid ... - at the same time as ...
X amid Y - event X is happening while Y is happening or is true 

concern - a worry ความกังวล
amid concern - at the same time as there is concern or worry about it

activist -  นักกิจกรรม, นักทำกิจกรรม
amid concern by activists

far-reaching - includes many things and many countries (that are far apart)
the far-reaching free trade pact

consequences - results of some actions or events; the things that happen as a result of a decision or event
the consequences of the far-reaching free trade pact.

amid concern by activists over the consequences of the far-reaching free trade pact.

proposed - suggested (but not yet chosen or decided upon)
a proposed regional FTA

liberalisation (noun)- when laws or attitudes become less strict and people are allowed more freedom of action;  to reduce rules and regulations in an industry (See glossary) เสรีภาพในการแสดงความคิดเห็นหรือแสดงออก

services - บริการต่างๆ things produced in service industries, not a physical good that can be bought, a waitress and a cook in a restaurant provide a service, technically: a sequence of activities that does not result in ownership of the outcome (See Wikipedia on services and the goods and services continuum)
investment - taking your money and putting it into projects to make a profit or earn interest (buying stock shares, bonds, real estate
service and investment sectors

The US is pushing for more liberalisation of the service and investment sectors through the pact

liberalise
(verb)
liberalising trade -
reducing rules, regulations and tariffs (taxes) in trade

goods -
things and products that companies buy and sell สินค้า, สิ่งของ
goods and services

the agreement is aimed at liberalising trade in nearly all goods and services

commitments - promises (things you must do because you promised to do them) 
established - has existed for a long time ก่อตั้่ง

the agreement includes commitments beyond those currently established in the World Trade Organisation.

table
- to suggest formally in a meeting something that you like everyone to discuss
proposal - a plan or suggestion for a group to consider ข้อเสนอ
table a proposal

the proposal tabled by the Commerce Ministry

joint - done with someone else ร่วมกัน ร่วม, ที่ร่วมกัน ความร่วมมือกัน
press - newspapers and magazines, and those parts of television and radio which broadcast news, or reporters and photographers who work for them สื่อมวลชน
joint press statement - a statement made to newspapers and the media by two people (or organizations, governments)

announce the pact in a joint press statement with Mr Obama

tariffs - taxes on imports (to make foreign goods less competitive in a country) พิกัดอัตราภาษีศุลกากร
The agreement would lead to fewer tariffs on Thai exports to the US

eliminate - to get rid of completely, remove completely (so that it no longer exists) กำจัดหรือขจัดให้หมดไป   กำจัด ลดตำแหน่งงาน
reliance on ... - depend on ..., need ...

the agreement would eliminate Thailand's reliance on the America's Generalised System of Preferences.

monitored - watch carefully what is happening, to make sure everything goes well เฝ้าระวัง
monitored the free trade deal.

FTA Watch is a non-governmental organisation which has monitored the free trade deal.

revitalise - put new energy into something, brought to life again  
revitalise negotiations - negotiations started again

...The TPP negotiations were revitalised by the US in 2010.

concluded - finished; completed; brought to a close
The talks will be concluded next year

clout - the power to influence events กลุ่มอิทธิพล
economic clout - economic power
the rising economic clout of Beijing

attempt - trying to do something
an attempt to counter the rising economic clout of Beijing

influence - the power to have an effect on people or things อิทธิพล
American influence on Asia..

assert influence - to try to use power to have an effect on people or things
assert more American influence on Asia...

affordable - not too expensive; does not cost too much, so people have enough money to use or buy it ไม่แพง
affordable medicine

access - the right or opportunity to have or use something ได้รับสิทธิ์หรือโอกาสในการใช้
access to affordable medicine
gain
access to affordable medicine

struggle - to use your strength to do something very difficult ความพยายาม fight to stop someone from having power over you การต่อสู้ดิ้นรน
struggle to gain access to affordable medicine

Thailand will struggle to gain access to affordable medicines under the pact

patent - legal rights to use an invention and to prevent the invention from being used by others, details of invention must be revealed to government patent office (See Wikipedia)
patent protection
gives drug manufacturers longer
patent protection

international - between countries ระหว่างประเทศ
standards - acceptable levels of quality or achievement มาตรฐาน a rule for behaving which should be obeyed บรรทัดฐาน, กฎเกณฑ์, กรอบ
international standards

the pact gives drug manufacturers longer patent protection compared to international standards

bloc - a group of people or a group of countries with the same aim สมาชิกพรรคการเมือง
trade bloc - a group of countries who have signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to lower tariffs and other barriers to trade

tactic -
ยุทธวิธี
a US tactic to create a trade bloc with other Asian countries

pressure - ความกดดัน
put pressure on - trying to force someone to do something ความกดดัน

a trade bloc with other Asian countries to put pressure on China to play by America's rules

diplomatic - relating to relations between countries เกี่ยวกับการทูต
diplomatic relations

mark -
to celebrate or remember something important in the past
Mr Obama's visit marks 180 years of diplomatic relations between the US and Thailand

election - the process of choosing a person or a group of person for a position, especially by voting elect (v) electoral (adj) synonym: the polls การเลือกตั้ง
election victory - winning the election

on his way to - when he is going to ...
Fresh from his presidential election victory, Mr Obama will visit Thailand and Myanmar on his way to the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh

About the author

columnist
Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer