Trade pact could lead to waste dumps

Bangkok Post | 6 October 2008

Trade pact could lead to waste dumps

ACHARA ASHAYAGACHAT

The Asean-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP) agreement, which goes before parliament today, will make Thailand a waste-dumping site for Japan, critics warn.

Piyanee Thangtontawi, director of the Industrial Works Department’s Hazardous Waste and Management Division, said no dubious imports of industrial waste from Japan had taken place since the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (JTEPA) took effect in September last year.

Ms Piyanee said a House sub-committee had recently raised concerns that the Asean-Japan trade pact could make Thailand a dumping site for electronic waste.

Thailand had rules and regulations to monitor reuse, repair and refurbishment of electrical and electronic equipment products, she said.

Penchome sae Tang from Campaign for Alternative Industry Network, said only two companies had registered to take tax privileges from the JTEPA.

In fact, there were many other imports that did not take the tariff-free benefit from JTEPA and those items were not thoroughly checked.

Ms Penchome said imports of internationally-banned used rubber, old batteries, electronic waste, and radioactive waste were still taking place.

Buntoon Srethasirote, FTA Watch researcher, said the AJCEP followed a flawed bilateral trade deal which allowed freer trade of toxic waste.

Article 25 of the AJCEP allowed freer trade of waste and scrap derived from manufacturing or consumer use as well.

source: Bangkok Post