Thailand: Committee to be formed to weigh up CPTPP membership hinh anh 1Illustrative photo. (Source: VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand’s cabinet has agreed to set up a committee to consider whether the country should sign up to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), amid widespread concerns about its harmful effects on the agriculture industry.

A standing panel of the lower house will seek public opinion about the CPTPP membership, deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek told a news briefing.

Its conclusions will be useful for the cabinet to decide on CPTPP membership, she said, adding that Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit agreed with forming the committee and the government wants to get it done within 30 days.

Jurin discussed the CPTPP with other ministers on the sidelines of the cabinet meeting on May 19. He was asked by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to present details of the CPTPP proposal at the informal discussion so the cabinet could begin preparing for possible negotiations expected in August.

If Thailand agrees to take part in talks at the upcoming meeting of the CPTPP founders in August, the government will have about two months left to settle the matter through the cabinet and the lower house.

The Commerce Ministry previously said the membership could lift economic growth to help offset the negative impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

However, the cabinet shelved a decision on membership last month following stiff opposition by politicians, civil society groups and prominent social figures who said it would hurt the economy, particularly the agricultural and healthcare sectors.

A study by Bolliger & Company Thailand, which was hired by the department, found participation in the CPTPP would boost Thailand's GDP by 0.12 percentage points in revenue a year.

The CPTPP is a trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam./.