Bangkok Post | 29 March 2007
TRADE WITH JAPAN - TOP COURT PETITIONED
Last minute bid to delay FTA
Four anti-free trade groups will today seek an emergency order from the Supreme Administrative Court to stop the signing of the free trade area (FTA) agreement with Japan next week. They are the Khao Kwan Foundation, the Bio Thai Foundation, the Consumers’ Foundation and the Aids Access Foundation.
The move follows the cabinet’s approval this week of plans to sign the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (JTEPA) in Tokyo next Tuesday.
FTA Watch said in a statement yesterday that it would also rally outside the Japanese embassy today and submit a written protest to the Japanese ambassador against the deal it said would ruin bilateral relations.
Academics yesterday demanded Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont scrap the signing of the pact, warning it would be unconstitutional.
The interim charter says prior approval from the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) is required before inking any international deal that affects the country, its citizens and the legal framework.
The warning was issued yesterday by a group of academics from Thammasat, Silpakorn, Sukhothai Thammathirat, Siam and Suranaree universities.
The academics said the cabinet only allowed debate on the JTEPA in the NLA, but there was no voting on the issue.
The interim government and the NLA are not empowered to undertake major policies which would commit the country in the long term, they said.
The pact covers a wide range of issues, such as Article 130 (3) which may lead to the patenting of indigenous natural micro-organisms, and Article 105(5) on ownership rights to indigenous plant species. To put the deal into force, legal amendments and supportive laws must be drawn up