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Government steps up efforts to explain FTA issue to public

MCOT News, Thailand

Government steps up efforts to explain FTA issue to public

27 January 2006

BANGKOK, Jan 27 (TNA) - Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Somkid Jatusripitak on Friday instructed state agencies concerned to accelerate disseminating information on negotiations for a planned free trade area (FTA) between Thailand and the United States to ensure that the public get proper understanding on the matter.

He said the government had given an importance to the US-Thailand FTA talk framework and wanted to clarify the issue to Thai people nationwide to ensure the transparency of the negotiation process.

A seminar aimed at boosting the people’s understanding of the FTA talk would be held soon, he noted.

As well, the ministry would organize a “Meet the Press’’ conference during February 11-12 to explain to members of the media pros and cons of the proposed FTA deal to ensure that all sides get proper understanding.

He said Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had supported the ministry’s approach to clarifying the FTA issues, particularly the US-Thailand FTA negotiations.

Dr. Somkid added that he would also explain the proposed FTA deal to the House of Representatives and Senate to boost understanding.

He said he was ready to answer any FTA-related questions, particularly about how the proposed FTA deal would affect trade balance, inflation rate, and the overall Thai economy.

The deputy premier revealed that he would lead a Thai delegation to Japan during January 29-February 2 in a bid to finalize the Thaland-Japan FTA negotiations as soon as possible.