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PM calls for more public participation in FTA deals

MCOT News, Thailand

PM calls for more public participation in FTA deals

Bangkok, 10 November 2004 (TNA) - Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra today reiterated the importance of Thailand forging bilateral economic relations, while pledging to ensure greater public involvement in international trade liberalization deals.

Chairing a special meeting of the International Economic Policy Committee, the prime minister spoke of the benefits to Thailand of generating bilateral relations with various countries within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

While acknowledging that at a multilateral level, Thailand was merely one player in the global economic game, the prime minister said that at a bilateral level, Thailand was able to generate its own economic games; thus, increasing Thailand’s role on the international economic stage.

Describing trade liberalization deals as opportunities to expand markets for Thai products, he, nonetheless, insisted that such agreements have to be free and fair both for Thailand and for its trading partners.

In forging free trade area (FTA) deals, it was vital to engage in careful positioning to ensure that neither side lost out, he said, adding that it was essential that such deals were considered thoroughly before they were signed.

In tacit acknowledgement of public opposition to trade liberalization agreements, in particular the proposed Thai-US FTA, he called on agencies concerned to provide complete and up-to-date information to the public.

This would help boost public understanding and participation, he said.

The prime minister also appointed Finance Minister Somkid Jatusripitak to chair a new committee set up to oversee all FTA deals Thailand had agreed, or would agree with trading partners.

The new committee was named the Committee on FTA Negotiations.

To support Thailand’s FTA deals and sustainable economic growth and development, the cabinet yesterday also approved in principle proposed strategies on national logistic development.

The strategies, proposed by the Ministry of Transport, are aimed at reducing transport costs of Thai products by enhancing the efficiency of the country’s transport systems through the improvement of all transport networks and linking them together, according to Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit.

The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) was assigned to coordinate with all agencies concerned to work out on details of the strategies to be submitted to the National Competitiveness Committee within one month, said Mr. Suriya.

 source: MCOT News