After a series of warnings from civic groups that any international trade agreement without public consultation violates the constitution, the Commerce Ministry finally, albeit reluctantly, held a public hearing on the draft framework of the Thai-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) last Wednesday.
People sign up to a campaign launched by the FTA Watch alliance in front of the Foreign Ministry to press the government to listen to the public before drafting laws governing international trade deals. APICHIT JINAKUL
The ministry, however, let the public know about the hearing only two days in advance - an inappropriate move given the hearing involved a very complex trade agreement with far-reaching repercussions. It reflected the authorities' tendency to ignore the concerns of civil society groups that the trade deals may give certain trade privileges to big business at the cost of the well-being of ordinary Thai people.
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