Sunday, February 18, 2007

Japan-Thai FTA Agreement: The Problems of Hazardous Waste

International dumping ground?

Despite government reassurances, worries persist that a clause in the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement will pave the way for other countries to send their hazardous waste to Thailand, which, as TUNYA SUKPANICH explains, may already be occurring.

The debate over the positive and negative impacts to Thailand of the free trade pact officially known as the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (JTEPA) is far from over. Meetings and discussions continue although the cabinet in January approved the draft in principle and forwarded it to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA). After a debate on Thursday, a majority of NLA members indicated their support for the JTEPA, and it is likely that it will be returned to the cabinet with a recommendation that it should be signed by the government.

Up to now, the most contentious points have concerned passages on public health services or intellectual property rights, but toxic waste is also becoming a major issue.

Let us suspend for a moment The Bangkok Post's normally reactionary views towards free trade agreements.

And let us suspend for a moment the bias of the article.

I believe in free trade. But even I have a problem with rich countries shipping their toxic waste to poor countries.

And Thailand is the last country I would trust when it comes to protecting the environment. Bangkok itself looks like a dump already. We don't need the water supply and ecosystem tainted with more toxic waste.

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