Monday, November 12, 2012

Thailand Eager to Join TPP, Awaits Obama's Visit

Peaches and apples from Fukushima are not enough for Thailand. 

From Bloomberg News (11/12/2012; emphasis is mine):

Thailand Plans to Join Pacific Trade Talks When Obama Visits

Thailand Plans to Join Pacific Trade Talks When Obama Visits
By Daniel Ten Kate and Suttinee Yuvejwattana - Nov 12, 2012 8:58 PM PT

Thailand plans to formally enter talks on a U.S.-led Pacific region trade deal when President Barack Obama visits the country next week, government spokesman Tosaporn Sererak told reporters.

Thailand would become the 12th country to join negotiations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Obama’s top trade priority. Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy would be the fifth country in the talks that does not already have a free-trade agreement with the U.S., along with New Zealand, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.

“It represents new market access for American companies,” Deborah K. Elms, head of the Temasek Foundation Centre for Trade & Negotiations in Singapore, said by e-mail. “Thailand really must be involved in the TPP for its own economic interests. You cannot have aspirations of being part of the supply chains in Asia, especially, if you are not part of the TPP as it gets up and running.”

Obama is seeking to expand trade ties with Asia-Pacific countries as part of a so-called pivot to the region to counter China’s growing economic and military might. He plans to visit Thailand on Nov. 18 as part of his first foreign trip since his re-election that also includes stops in Myanmar and Cambodia.

The TPP expanded to 11 nations this year after Mexico and Canada were invited to join, representing about a third of global economic output. The other countries include Australia, Chile, Peru and Singapore.


TPP negotiators plan to meet next month in New Zealand for the 15th round of talks, which are confidential. The U.S. Congress signaled its discontent with the TPP negotiation process in June, with 132 lawmakers telling U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk in a letter they were “troubled that important policy decisions are being made without full input from Congress.”

(Full article at the link)

Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is under the executive office of the President of the United States.


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