[Ip-health] Civic groups voice FTA worries

Jockey jockey.kit at gmail.com
Wed Aug 29 21:26:49 PDT 2012


http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/309933/civic-groups-voice-fta-worries

  Civic groups voice FTA worries

   - Published:
30/08/2012<http://www.bangkokpost.com/search/news-and-article?xDate=30-08-2012&xAdvanceSearch=true>at
01:36 AM
   - Newspaper section:
News<http://www.bangkokpost.com/search/news-and-article?xNewsSection=News&xAdvanceSearch=true>

      Civil society organisations have expressed concerns about
Thai-European Union free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations to the European
Parliament, which has expressed full support for the pact.

European Parliament member delegations led by chairman of Economic and
Monetary Affairs Werner Langen met with representatives of civic groups
yesterday.

The delegation arrived in Thailand on Monday. Their visit ends tomorrow.

Organisations working to promote inexpensive access to medicines submitted
a letter expressing concerns about the proposed Thai-EU and Asean-EU FTAs.

The groups said they applauded the European Parliament for its objection to
the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) but they still had grave
concerns that a provision similar to the ACTA has been integrated in the
FTAs.

Under ACTA, generic life-saving medicines are at risk of being seized in
transit if it is suspected they violate intellectual property laws.

The in-transit seizure mechanism would block access to legitimate and legal
generic medicines for millions of patients in developing countries, the
groups said.

Shiwei Ye, representative of the International Federation for Human Rights
(FIDH) for Southeast Asia, called on the EU and the European Parliament to
ensure the promotion of universal standards of human rights.

The EU should not pat themselves on the back for hosting a few meetings
with selected NGOs or issuing a few statements after human rights defenders
have been convicted, he said.

"To truly walk the talk of human rights, the EU needs to speak louder and
more often," the activist said.

"The European Parliament needs to hold EU diplomats accountable for their
performance in implementing all the human rights instruments," he added.

Meanwhile, Mr Langen said in a press conference yesterday that the European
Parliament is hopeful that Thailand would proceed with the FTA and
Partnership Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with the EU, since parliament has
full support for the agreements. Robert Goebbels, vice-president of the
delegation and member of the parliament's committee on industry, research
and energy, said he could not judge whether the negotiations would be
successful as they had not yet taken place.

"This [Yingluck Shinawatra] government has the full backing of the citizens
and the parliament will be the authority to adopt the agreement," Mr
Goebbels said.

"This [stage] is just discussions to check give-and-take before entering
full negotiations," he added.

He also said he did not understand why civil society was concerned about
the impact on alcohol and medicine. He said Thai people already consumed a
lot of alcohol and medicines.

David Lipman, the EU ambassador to Thailand, said the negotiations have not
started yet as the EU has its own procedure while Thailand had to go
through its parliament as required by Section 190 of the constitution.

The Langen delegation has met Ms Yingluck and Deputy Prime Minister and
Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong.

   - Published:
30/08/2012<http://www.bangkokpost.com/search/news-and-article?xDate=30-08-2012&xAdvanceSearch=true>at
01:36 AM
   - Newspaper section:
News<http://www.bangkokpost.com/search/news-and-article?xNewsSection=News&xAdvanceSearch=true>

      Civil society organisations have expressed concerns about
Thai-European Union free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations to the European
Parliament, which has expressed full support for the pact.

European Parliament member delegations led by chairman of Economic and
Monetary Affairs Werner Langen met with representatives of civic groups
yesterday.

The delegation arrived in Thailand on Monday. Their visit ends tomorrow.

Organisations working to promote inexpensive access to medicines submitted
a letter expressing concerns about the proposed Thai-EU and Asean-EU FTAs.

The groups said they applauded the European Parliament for its objection to
the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) but they still had grave
concerns that a provision similar to the ACTA has been integrated in the
FTAs.

Under ACTA, generic life-saving medicines are at risk of being seized in
transit if it is suspected they violate intellectual property laws.

The in-transit seizure mechanism would block access to legitimate and legal
generic medicines for millions of patients in developing countries, the
groups said.

Shiwei Ye, representative of the International Federation for Human Rights
(FIDH) for Southeast Asia, called on the EU and the European Parliament to
ensure the promotion of universal standards of human rights.

The EU should not pat themselves on the back for hosting a few meetings
with selected NGOs or issuing a few statements after human rights defenders
have been convicted, he said.

"To truly walk the talk of human rights, the EU needs to speak louder and
more often," the activist said.

"The European Parliament needs to hold EU diplomats accountable for their
performance in implementing all the human rights instruments," he added.

Meanwhile, Mr Langen said in a press conference yesterday that the European
Parliament is hopeful that Thailand would proceed with the FTA and
Partnership Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with the EU, since parliament has
full support for the agreements. Robert Goebbels, vice-president of the
delegation and member of the parliament's committee on industry, research
and energy, said he could not judge whether the negotiations would be
successful as they had not yet taken place.

"This [Yingluck Shinawatra] government has the full backing of the citizens
and the parliament will be the authority to adopt the agreement," Mr
Goebbels said.

"This [stage] is just discussions to check give-and-take before entering
full negotiations," he added.

He also said he did not understand why civil society was concerned about
the impact on alcohol and medicine. He said Thai people already consumed a
lot of alcohol and medicines.

David Lipman, the EU ambassador to Thailand, said the negotiations have not
started yet as the EU has its own procedure while Thailand had to go
through its parliament as required by Section 190 of the constitution.

The Langen delegation has met Ms Yingluck and Deputy Prime Minister and
Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong.



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