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Talks on trade status to begin March 17


March 17, 2008

Talks on trade status to begin March 17

Thailand’s Commerce Ministry permanent secretary Siripol Yodmuangcharoen and the United States Assistant Trade Representative Barbara Weisel are expected to discuss compulsory licensing and the revision of Thailand's trade status Monday (March 17), a local daily reported.

This will be followed by a meeting between Thailand’s Commerce Minister Mingkwan Sangsuwan and USTR chief Susan Schwab in April in Bangkok.

The USTR is scheduled to announce its official revision of the trade status of 63 trading partners, including Thailand, by the end of April.

The United States, Thailand’s largest trading partner, will decide to extend or cut tariff privileges on Thai exports under the Generalised System of Preferences, depending on whether or not Thailand is downgraded from Priority Watch List to Priority Foreign Country (PFC).

Thailand was downgraded from the Watch List to Priority Watch List in 2007 by the United States Trade Representative (USTR), which noted that Thailand had not implemented strong protection measures against illegal goods.

Thailand, whose exports to the US accounted for 12.5 percent of total export value last year, is at risk of being downgraded to PFC after the decision by the Public Health Ministry to continue compulsory licensing for four cancer drugs.

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