[Ip-health] letter to the Thai PM regarding the Thailand-EU FTA

Jockey jockey.kit at gmail.com
Thu Feb 28 08:58:36 PST 2013

Dear all,

During the protest in front of the PM's office today, our 20
representatives had a nearly-2-hour meeting with Dr. Olarn in the
Government House at 2 pm.  He gave verbal commitment to our representatives
that consultation would be conducted with all the stakeholders along the
negotiation and progress of each round would be shared to relevant groups,
including CSOs/NGOs.  However,

After that he came out to meet with the protesting group and received our
letter expressing our concerns and requests.  Below is the English
translation of the letter.


February 28, 2013

Your Excellency, Ms Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand

FTA Watch and the undersigned 28 non-government organizations, including
civil society organizations, academic groups, and people’s organizations,
hereby reiterate our concerns and recommendations regarding the Free Trade
Agreement (FTA) between Thailand and the European Union (EU), which you and
your delegation will begin negotiating in Brussels on 6-7 March, and the
government’s rapid timeframe to complete the negotiations (10 rounds of
negotiations in 1.5 years) and propose this FTA to the Parliament for
approval before the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) expires in

This new FTA between Thailand and the EU will cover several matters that
have never before been discussed in other FTAs, including intellectual
property in medicines and biodiversity, foreign investment’s protection and
arbitration for international dispute settlement between state and the
private sector, and products harmful to health (e.g. alcohol and
cigarettes). All these matters have severe economic and social impacts in
diverse aspects, and thus, the government is compelled to attain the
Parliament’s endorsement and to pursue a public consultation process
according to Section 190 of the Thai Constitution.

However, the negotiating framework’s content and all related procedures –
the public’s consultation, the negotiation’s preparation, the negotiating
framework’s drafting, and the consideration by the Cabinet and the
Parliament – have been riddled with flaws. Several concerns over
long-lasting adverse effects to society and a loss of over 100 billion Baht
to the national budget were neglected.  Instead, the government continues
to pay more attention to the GSP’s expiration and short-term benefits
limited to a small number of privileged business groups and amounting to
merely 80 billion Baht.

We therefore demand that your Excellency, as the Prime Minister, and Mr.
Olarn Chaipravat, Head of the Thai Delegation to negotiate the Thailand-EU
FTA, express your social commitment and ensure that the whole nation will
truly achieve the benefits of this Thailand-EU FTA by recognizing and
giving justice to the groups that will benefit, the people who will be
adversely affected by the FTA, and the public in general, in accordance
with your democratic government’s policy declared before the Parliament.
Specifically, during the negotiations of the Thailand-EU FTA the Thai
delegation should take firm positions that:

1.    Thailand shall not accept the content of the Thailand-EU FTA
negotiation on intellectual property that is stricter than the World Trade
Organization’s TRIPS Agreement, which is known as TRIPS-plus provisions
including patent term extension, data exclusivity, and border
measures.  Furthermore,
the existing biodiversity protection law, which is already compliant with
TRIPS Agreement and Convention on Biological Diversity, must remain

2.    The international dispute settlement mechanism using international
arbitration in the investment chapter must not be applied to disputes over
social investment, policy enforcement, and legislation to safeguard the
public’s interests, environment protection, and policies on public health,
infrastructure, and security.

3.    Investments affecting natural resources, farming, aquaculture, plant
propagation, and food security, shall not be allowed.

4.    Alcohol and tobacco must be removed from the negotiation.

   1. Consultation with all the stakeholder sectors’ participation shall be
   carried out prior to and after every round of the negotiations.  In
   these consultation meetings, the negotiation team must declare the
   positions and the progress of the negotiations, take recommendations from
   the stakeholders’ consultation into account, and comply with the
   recommendations by balancing the different interests of all the

All the undersigned organizations would like to reiterate that Ms. Yingluck
Shinawatra, the Prime Minister, and Mr. Olarn Chaipravat, Head of the Thai
Delegation of the Thailand-EU FTA negotiation, should carefully consider
the adverse impact of the FTAs on the entire nation and all Thais.  It is
your responsibility, negotiating on behalf of the Thai people and the next
generations, to ensure the rights and benefits of Thai citizens will be not
traded away for the interests of a limited number of private sector groups.

Yours sincerely,

Asst. Prof. Sumlee Jaidee

FTA Watch

The Thai Network of People living with HIV/AIDS (TNP+), Stopdrink Network,
Alternative Agriculture Network (AAN), Assembly of the Poor, 4 regions of
Slum Network, Renal Failure Patient Group, Cancer Patient Group, Thai NGO
Coalition on AIDS, AIDS ACCESS Foundation, Foundation for AIDS Rights,
Foundation for Consumers, Rural Pharmacists Foundation, Rural Pharmacy
Association, Drug Study Group, BioThai Foundation, Ecological Alert and
Recovery – Thailand (EARTH), Thai Holistic Health Foundation, Labor
Alliance Group, Alcohol’s Danger Protection Campaign Network, The Network
of Community Affected by Alcohol, The Network of the Alcohol’s Danger
Surveillance in Bangkok, The Youth Network of the New Drinkers’ Protection,
Harm Reduction Working Network (12D), Southeast Asia Tobacco Control
Alliance (SEATCA), Focus on the Global South

cc: Mr. Boonsong Teriyapirom, Commerce Minister

cc: Dr. Olarn Chaipravat, Head of the Thai Delegation of the Thailand-EU
FTA Negotiation

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