China deal hurting farm sector

Bangkok Post | 28 July 2007

FTA FARMERS’ PROBLEMS

China deal hurting farm sector

AMPA SANTIMATANEDOL

A knowledge-development organisation under the Prime Minister’s Office is compiling a package of research, part of which pinpoints the lingering repercussions of policies imposed under the Thaksin Shinawatra government. Kraisak Choonhavan, board member of the Office of Knowledge Management and Development (OKMD), said yesterday that his office, through a team of researchers from Kasetsart University, was studying the economic and social impact on grassroots of the free trade agreement (FTA) between Thailand and China.

The study initially found the FTA, which was sealed under the Thaksin administration, posed problems for people in the North and Northeast, especially in terms of higher debt burdens.

The impact was also felt by more than 100,000 farming families who participated in royally-initiated projects, he said. Crops grown by the projects could not compete with cheap Chinese produce dumped in the market.

Mr Kraisak said he expected researchers to eventually recommend solutions to the government to alleviate the problems.

The research will be concluded in November.

He indicated that it might be necessary for Thailand to renegotiate the FTA with China.

During the 2008 fiscal year, the OKMD will conduct research on the extra-judiciary killings of narcotics suspects under the Thaksin administration.

Mr Kraisak said the study would look into and try to analyse the causes of the massive killings so it could serve as a lesson for future governments.

During the war on drugs, more than 2,000 people were reportedly killed, many of them by police who claimed the victims were mostly drug traders, peddlers or those involved with drug rings.

source: Bangkok Post