19 May 2024

The Pharmacy Council of Thailand (PCT) has urged the Government not to rush into joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP, fearing that early entry, without taking into account inputs from all stakeholders, may hurt the domestic pharmaceutical industry and hinder access to affordable medicines.

The PCT voiced its concern after it learned that Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak will propose, at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, that Thailand should send a letter of intent to the trade bloc, expressing its intent to join the grouping.

Since the submission of the letter is the first step in entering into the multi-lateral agreement, the PCT suggested that the Thai government should not offer to amend certain Thai regulations, to bring them in line with CPTPP, but should make use of the current Thai regulations as a bargaining chip to protect Thai national interests relating to the country’s health care system and patent linkage.

 

The PCT also proposed that the Government undertake a national interest analysis (NIA) of the implications associated with joining the CPTPP, which should be made available to parliament and the public. The Council cited the case of New Zealand, which also conducted an NIA and sent the report to the country’s parliament for consideration.

The Thai Commerce Ministry’s Trade Negotiations Department has hired Bolliger & Company, a strategic consultancy, to conduct a study on the advantages and disadvantages of joining the trade bloc.

 

The study shows that joining will boost Thailand’s annual GDP by 0.12%, or by 13.3 billion baht, while not participating will result in 26.6 billion baht loss of revenue and a contraction of GDP by 0.25% per annum.

The CPTPP is a trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.  It evolved from Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which didn’t come into force after President Trump withdrew the United States’ participation.

The CPTPP is the third largest free trade agreement, after NAFTA and European Single Market.