Thai EU FTA: Solution for “Win Win” tabled, however activist may politicize issue

English: Fireworks explode up in the skies abo...

English: Fireworks explode up in the skies above Chiang Mai on the Sunday after the Loi Krathong (locally known as Yi Peng) festival. The photo was taken at Wat Phantao (Thai script: วัดพันเตา), the wooden temple immediately next to Wat Chedi Luang. The fireworks were part of the extended Loi Krathong festivities in Chiang Mai. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A solution, aim at breaking a long dead-lock that had delay Thai EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) for years has been tabled for a “Win Win” scenario. Prachachart Turakij, a leading business newspaper here in Thailand, reports the Thai government has tabled to the EU negotiators, for Eurozone giant pharmaceutical company, to establish drug making facilities in Thailand, in exchange for incentives. In This way, the Thai government argues, the price of drugs would fall within WTO agreements guideline, not heightened to higher levels, as Thailand needs to ensure reasonable drugs costs, from patent related issues. This drug patent related issue has slowed Thai EU FTA talk for several years, as Thai activist, mostly, nationalist groups, have raised the issue of drug price to scuttle Thai EU FTA agreement. At the current round of Thai EU talks in Chiang Mai, a northern Thai city, about 4,000 to 5,000 anti Thai EU FTA agreement protesters have gathered. Most neutral observer, says the nationalist groups, are fundamentally against trade liberalization and are anti-globalist. Most neutral observer says, while Thailand and EU could in theory reach an agreement that addresses critical issues, such as patent vs affordability, the activist, if turned into a political force, could block such “Win Win” agreement. Here in Thailand, nationalist groups are anti Thaksin and Yingluck, seeing both as globalist and capitalist. While the issue of affordable drug is highly critical to the Thai negotiators, one the other side, neutral observer says, EU is an important market for Thai exports and without a Thai EU FTA, creeping protectionism by EU, could hit billions of US$ Thai export to the EU. (Source: Prachachart Turakij print edition)

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