Thailand :Assembly of the Poor demanding Thai-EU FTA Talk must not restrain freedom of seed

Over 100 farmers from Assembly of the Poor (AOP) – La Via Campesina member in Southeast Asia – gathered in front of Thai Government House in Bangkok in the morning, as a campaign action to scrutinize the second round of Thai-EU FTA negotiation going on in Chaingmai province during 16-20 September. Assembly of the Poor was met by Mr. Suporn Attawong, Deputy Secretary-General to Prime Minister.

AOP representative read the statement, saying that the ongoing Thai-EU FTA negotiation is a state’s economic policy which will affect natural resource bases, wellbeing and rights of the poor. The attempt of EU to pressure Thai government to extend the intellectual property to cover genetic resources and bio resources will open the door for the corporates to monopolize seed and bio technology industries and grab natural resources from the poor. Farmers will have to buy seeds at high price while keeping seeds for next season, mutual exchange of seeds and protection of seeds and genetic resources become crimes.

Free trade gives opportunity for transnational corporates and foreign investors to exploit the people’s natural resources freely, especially in agricultural sector. Land, water and other resources will be grabbed away from the poor. This is the threat to our food sovereignty and peasants’ rights. 

The negotiation will create injustice in accessibility of medicine or medicine monopoly as EU pressures Thai government on unfair issues including the extension of medicine patent protection duration, data exclusivity or the anti-counterfeiting trade agreement.

AOP submitted a letter to HE Yingluck Shinawatra, the Prime Minister via Deputy Secretary-General, calling on her government to protect the benefit of the people, especially the poor and not as an agent of transnational corporates or gigantic capitalists and blindly protect their profits.  

AOP demanded Thai Government not to comply with the pressure from European Union to accept TRIPS-plus, not to allow ISDC mechanism for public investment and policies or measures to protect public goods and not to liberate the investment which involves the utilization of natural resources and investment in agricultural sector that will undermine the country’s sovereignty and violate the peasants’ rights.

The campaign ended with the streetside card stunt, reading “FTA” in blood color, “FTA– Fatal to All” and “FTA – Farmer Terminating Agreement” to express the fatality of FTA that harms all people and destroys small scale farmers.