Panel wants more trade deal time

Panel wants more trade deal time

The International Economic Policy Committee requires another 50 days to make a recommendation on whether Thailand should join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), says Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai.

The CPTPP was launched in 2019 to remove trade barriers among 11 nations representing nearly 500 million consumers in the Asia-Pacific region.

The pact replaced the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a similar trade deal that included the United States until the Trump administration decided to withdraw.

Mr Don, also the committee chairman, yesterday clarified ongoing speculation that the government has decided to join the CPTPP, a move which the private sector supports but civil groups and health activists oppose.

He confirmed that the committee has yet to make a decision but required more time to study the different dimensions of this partnership.

Previously, the committee had postponed its decision by another 90 days and had to submit their recommendations by April 25 this year.

"In the last 90 days, we had three meetings, but when it came to the final meeting on April 22, we saw that there were still many points that had not been discussed, and that it is necessary to consult with more of the sectors involved," said Mr Don.

"So, we've asked for another 50 days to do more research for a more well-rounded and comprehensive decision," he said.

The committee has said it has urgent matters to attend to and will have to talk with its eight sub-committees, the largest number of sub-committees its ever had.

"The talk will cover every dimension from technique, mechanisms, policies to the bigger picture and potential obstacles," he noted.

According to Mr Don, the committee will not only concern itself with particular sectors or stakeholders, as everything is intertwined and could affect national growth.

The cabinet approved the extension on Wednesday.

After 50 days, which will fall on June 25, he said the committee's study will be submitted to the cabinet.

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