Ministry hastens to make CPTPP deal before February

Ministry hastens to make CPTPP deal before February

The Commerce Ministry is speeding up concluding talks for Thailand to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), aiming to join this pact before the general election next February.

The ministry will soon propose the pros and cons of this trade pact to Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak for acknowledgment.

Sontirat Sontijirawong, the commerce minister, chaired the third round of the CPTPP working group yesterday that considered the if Thailand becomes a member.

The working group sought opinions from 30 related agencies, following which the ministry will sum up all the costs and benefits for Mr Somkid's consideration.

"A decision on whether to join the trade pact will be disclosed by the Thai government soon, with the CPTPP taking effect on Dec 30," said Mr Sontirat.

"But I cannot identify when Thailand can join the CPTPP, as Mr Somkid has to approve the move first and then propose it to the cabinet."

Seven of CPTPP's 11 members have ratified the pact -- Mexico, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and Vietnam.

Mr Sontirat said the trade pact must provide the country with the best benefits upon joining, and the government has to seek measures and remedies for other stakeholders who suffer from the CPTPP.

He said the ministry will set up the CPTPP fund to oversee the stakeholders, which will be in effect from the start of the agreement.

For the CPTPP participation plan, the Trade Negotiations Department ran five public forums during August-September and more than 1,400 people in many related sectors in 40 provinces attended.

After the forums, farmers, non-government organisations and healthcare sectors vowed to express their concerns regarding the trade pact's negative impacts such as plant varieties and genetically modified organism products.

The CPTPP covers a wide range trade of goods and services, investment, capital movement, state procurement, e-commerce, intellectual property, competition policy, labour and environment.

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