Industrial group supports Thailand joining CPTPP
The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) supports the move to make Thailand a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to boost the nation's international trade in the post-pandemic period.
The panel's stance, unveiled on Tuesday by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), comes after a one-month study of the pact jointly conducted with the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.
FTI chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree said the CPTPP will be a new tool for the country to move forward in the global economy.
The trade agreement involves a newly formed bloc of 11 Pacific Rim nations, excluding the US and China, and is expected to help boost GDP.
The 11 member nations are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The pact went into force in December 2018.
Civic groups and non-governmental organisations have raised concerns over negative effects on the nation's food security and access to certain medicines.
The study team discussed these issues with some opponent groups, but "they could not give resounding and clear reasons why Thailand should not join the agreement", Mr Supant said.
FTI vice-chairman Kriangkrai Tiannukul said Thailand should join negotiations over the CPTPP before making a final decision on joining to avoid missing economic benefits under the strained economy.
"Global purchasing power is currently weak, which affects both export and manufacturing sectors," he said.
The FTI is also concerned about the baht's appreciation, which it fears will deal a further blow to exports and tourism.
The JSCCIB will meet today to assess the economic outlook as the government eases business restrictions following successful domestic containment of the coronavirus.
The group is expected to maintain the export forecast it earlier put between -5% and -10% this year.
The JSCCIB also predicted that GDP this year would shrink by 3-5%, with inflation between -1.5% and zero, down from an earlier view of 0.8-1.2%.
The committee is becoming increasingly confident about the economic recovery.
"The group is beginning to have a positive outlook on the domestic economy as the government further phases out lockdown measures," Mr Supant said.