Jurin preps ministers for CPTPP talks

Jurin preps ministers for CPTPP talks

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has asked Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit to prepare other ministers for talks on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

A Government House source said Mr Jurin discussed the CPTPP with the Foreign, the Agriculture and Cooperatives and the Public Health ministers on the sidelines of the cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

The source said Mr Jurin was asked by the prime minister to present details of the CPTPP proposal at the informal discussion so that everyone else was well informed about it and could begin preparing for possible negotiations expected in August.

The trade pact involves a newly formed bloc of 11 Pacific Rim nations, excluding the United States and China.

Rachada Dhanadirek, deputy government spokeswoman, confirmed the CPTPP proposal wasn't tabled at Tuesday's formal meeting of the cabinet, but it was discussed at the informal meeting instead.

If Thailand agrees to take part in talks at the upcoming meeting of the CPTPP founders in August, the government will have about two months left to settle the matter through the cabinet and the House of Representatives, Ms Rachada said.

Similar concerns had previously emerged even in CPTPP-founder countries, New Zealand and Vietnam, she said, adding that these nations had dealt with the issue by requesting a grace period of 10 and 15 years for their patents on drugs and plant species.

Thailand will be able to request a similar grace period, she said.

Mr Jurin said he had already made it clear earlier this month when he withdrew the CPTPP from a previous cabinet meeting that only when all sides of society reach common ground on the matter should the country move ahead with the trade pact.

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