Joint panel plans fresh CPTPP study

Joint panel plans fresh CPTPP study

The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) will start a new study on the highly contentious Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) next month in a bid to renew its call for the government to join the pact next year.

The group plans to hire a consultancy to do the "deepest" examination of pros and cons of the deal, believed to help boost international trade, which could help Thailand handle the fallout from the pandemic, said the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

The JSCCIB wants Thailand to first join negotiations on various issues, including free trade proposals among CPTPP members, to pave the way for a decision on whether to eventually ratify the pact.

FTI chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree said the CPTPP is an opportunity for Thailand to export products to new markets.

"The JSCCIB will provide the government the findings from this study so it can reconsider whether to join negotiations," he said.

Thailand did not join talks when CPTPP members met earlier this month. The move was not on the agenda for a cabinet meeting.

Last month, the cabinet agreed to raise the issue in parliamentary debate amid widespread concerns over the CPTPP's possible negative impact on the agriculture industry, as members are required to reduce import tariffs on farm products.

The cabinet also agreed to set up a special panel to study the costs and benefits of the CPTPP, according to the Trade Negotiations Department.

Mr Supant acknowledged the concerns of opponents who believe the CPTPP may "kill local businesses when foreign businesses flow into Thailand under the pact".

Those concerns are why the FTI wants the government to discuss debatable issues with CPTPP members in order to get more information and updates on the agreement.

The deal involves a newly formed bloc of 11 Pacific Rim nations, excluding the US and China.

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.

In May, the JSCCIB supported the negotiations after the results of a one-month study of the CPTPP.

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