The Nation, Bangkok
Thaksin says no to parliamentary debate on FTA
Published on Jan 09 , 2006
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra Monday shot down a proposal for Parliament to debate free trade agreements (FTAs), including a draft being negotiated between Thailand and the United States.
"The negotiations for the Thai-US agreement are being monitored by experts to ensure a successful outcome and I see no justification for legislative debate on FTAs as Parliament does not have qualified personnel to scrutinise the matter," he said.
Thaksin insisted that his government had taken every precaution in talks with the US authorities.
"Relevant panels in charge of FTA negotiations have been looking at the overall picture and will bargain for a fair tradeoff but not a disadvantageous deal," he said.
He dismissed the allegation that his government lacked transparency in FTA negotiations, saying it had nothing to hide.
He said relevant Cabinet members had already explained issues raised by lawmakers and non-governmental organisations.
With regard to the ongoing round of the Thai-US FTA talks in Chiang Mai, he said he could not predict its outcome.
He also said the negotiations would not lead to rising costs for health care, including the HIV/Aids drugs, because the World Trade Organisation has the guidelines on the matter that supersede the FTAs.