TPP would be good for Thailand: Study

Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn
PHOTO: The Nation

However, the study also found there would be challenges to confront by joining TPP including tougher competition and stringent protection of intellectual property rights.

The study is the result of the ministry hiring the Panyapiwat Institute and the International Institute for Trade and Development to probe the benefits and negatives of Thailand joining the TPP.

Sirinart Jaimun, director-general to the Trade Negotiations Department, said Thailand would get large benefits from the TPP.

Sirinart said the department would forward the results of the study and a public forum on the matter to the government to make the decision on whether Thailand would join the pact. The announcement of the decision is expected late next month.

According to the study, the country's gross domestic product could grow 0.77 percentage points a year by signing onto the TPP.

But GDP could grow 1.06 percentage points if other ASEAN countries, including Indonesia and the Philippines, join it, the study found.

It also found the TPP would help promote growth in the automobile, electronic, computer, garment and textile sectors.

The pact would increase the development of the trade and service sectors as well as environmental protection and labour standards since member states would be encouraged to develop each sector to meet higher standards for sustainable growth.

The study found the TPP would increase opportunities for Thai enterprises to invest overseas, and source raw materials from other countries.

It would also promote better awareness of intellectual property rights, leading to stringent protection, as well as support new innovations and research and the development of high technology.

The tougher competition would be in the trade and service sectors, while the stringent protection of intellectual property rights could make it difficult for people to access public health services, and result in higher costs for pharmaceutical and medical products.

Thus, Thailand would need to adjust its rules and regulations in accordance with the TPP and prepare for the stringent protection of patents.

Before proposing the study results to policy makers, the department will organise the public hearing to hear any concerns about the pact from all involved sectors. The information will be gathered and evaluated.

Sirinart said the department would find out how Japan created understanding among its public after joining the TPP. It will do that by speaking to representatives from the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) of Japan.

Meanwhile, Thailand plans to co-operate with Jetro Bangkok to support ASEAN countries in creating ASEAN-branded products that meet international standards.

Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said there were many products that had a good opportunity to be developed further under the scheme such as electronic appliances, auto parts, garments, and cosmetics.

Under the co-operation, Thailand will be a training centre for ASEAN industries, while Jetro will help promote improving the standards of products along industrial lines.

Apiradi said goods would be labelled "Made in ASEAN" so the world market would know all ASEAN goods had the same good standard of production.

To promote closer co-operation in ASEAN, Thailand will host a forum in the first quarter where representatives from Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam will discuss cooperating in tourism, culture, and trade and industry.