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HIV patients urge caution on EU FTA talks
The Nation, Bangkok
HIV patients urge caution on EU FTA talks
By Petchanet Pratruangkrai
21 September 2012
People afflicted with the Aids virus have called on the government to proceed carefully on free-trade negotiations with the European Union, as the latter’s demands for copyright protection could make it difficult for patients to access cheap medicines.
About 30 HIV-positive patients and the FTA Watch Group yesterday went to the Commerce Ministry calling for the government to be cautious on what it commits to during talks on a free-trade agreement with the EU.
They said the government should not accept any demands that go beyond the World Trade Organisation’s agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
In an open letter submitted to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, patients raised concern that Thailand could lose opportunities to access cheap drugs if the government is only concerned about tariff reductions for some products it wants to export to the EU market.
The letter stated that although Thailand might not immediately suffer any negative impact from this FTA if it committed to stringent protection of intellectual-property rights, the country would face huge losses from higher prices for medicines.
The letter noted that about 70 per cent of the public health budget was spent on medicines each year. That amount could rise greatly and create a long-term impact on the Kingdom’s spending.
The letter was also submitted to Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyaphirom and Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri.
Last graf says there have been 50. The activists called on the government to ensure compliance with the Constitution before making commitments to any country on liberalising markets or adopting any agreements that could have impacts on Thais’ economic and social well-being.
According to the department, Thailand and the EU have not yet officially started the first round of FTA talks. The draft of the negotiation plan is waiting for the Cabinet and Parliament’s ratification under the Constitution.
More than 50 public hearings have been conducted to voice concerns and opinions from public and involved private enterprises.
Thailand and the EU plan to start the first round of talks early next year.
News from the movements
25-Aug-2016 RTSome 2,000 members of the American Postal Workers Union have gathered in Miami where they are officially opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
24-Aug-2016 Deutsche WelleHundreds of thousands of protesters are expected to take to the streets in several German cities to rally against plans to move forward with two key international trade agreements - one year after a similar protest managed to attract similar numbers.
23-Aug-2016 APRNNeither the TPP nor the RCEP, neither the US nor China and their corporations will ever address the long-standing people’s aspiration for an international trading system that responds to their needs.
23-Aug-2016 ScoopCivil society groups, trade unions, church groups, environmentalists, gender activists and many more are calling for Ministers to make no decision on PACER-Plus — a free trade agreement between Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands — until there has been a proper social impact assessment and mandate from the Pacific people who are most likely to be affected.
22-Aug-2016 Radio New ZealandA meeting on Pacific labour mobility under the PACER Plus trade deal has a glaring omission – the voices of organised labour.
Avec de nouveaux accords commerciaux, le vol organisé par les multinationales est légalisé et les semences paysannes deviennent illégalesDe nouveaux accords de libre-échange légalisent le vol organisé par les grandes entreprises et mettent en péril la possibilité pour les agriculteurs de conserver, produire et échanger des semences.
22-Aug-2016 El PaísEl secretario de Relaciones Internacionales del Pit-Cnt, Fernando Gambera, afirmó tras participar del XVI Foro Social Mundial realizado en Montreal (Canadá) que los Tratado de Libre Comercio (TLC) son una preocupación para todas las centrales sindicales porque "apuntan a degradar las conquistas de los trabajadores".
22-Aug-2016 Premium TimesSocial Action has asked the federal government to not to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union. Ghana and Ivory Coast have also resisted the EPA
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