Minister to submit letter on CPTPP

Minister to submit letter on CPTPP

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai
Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai

Thailand's decision on whether to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is becoming clearer, as Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai is expected to submit a letter of intent soon for the country to apply to join the pact to the cabinet for its approval.

According to a source from the International Economic Policy Committee chaired by Mr Don which met on Monday, the Foreign Ministry is preparing the letter of intent to be signed by Mr Don who is expected soon to propose to the cabinet for approval.

The source, who requested anonymity, said at Monday's meeting, the International Economic Policy Committee also required all related agencies to provide and compile additional issues such as areas of concern, reservations or periods needed for adjustment.

Additional issues were required to be submitted to the committee within 30-45 days.

The Trade Policy and Strategy Office under the Commerce Ministry, in the capacity of the secretary to the committee, is tasked with gathering additional issues and proposing to the committee for consideration.

Additional issues, once approved by the committee, will be included in the negotiation framework which is being prepared. Once the negotiation framework is complete, it will later be filed to the cabinet for approval.

More importantly, according to the source, the committee on Monday had accelerated related agencies to establish a remedy fund to alleviate the hardship of those affected by Thailand's participation in the CPTPP while setting up a public relations panel to help disseminate the right information about the pact and its benefits as well as to prevent fake news.

According to the source, at the cabinet's meeting on Oct 12 Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha asked for progress about the possibility of Thailand joining the CPTPP, while Mr Don told the meeting the government should join the pact because it could create great benefits for Thai industries.

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

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

In April 2020, the cabinet shelved a decision on CPTPP membership following stiff opposition from politicians, civil society groups and prominent social figures who said it would hurt the economy, particularly the agricultural and healthcare sectors.

The cabinet agreed in May 2020 to set up house standing panels to study joining the pact, amid widespread concern about harm to the agriculture sector.

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