Commentary: Group opposes Thailand joining trade agreement that is adverse to women & subsistence farmers

Author: Suluck Lamubol, Asia Times, Published on: 9 September 2018

"Women's group opposes Thailand joining CPTPP", 5 September 2018

The Thai Department of Trade Negotiations...held its second public hearing on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).... 

...Matcha Phorn-in, president of the Thai Association of the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)...“It will further corporate monopolies in agriculture and marginalize women, peasants and the majority of people. For this reason we, the women’s groups, labor-rights groups, and civil society, reject the UPOV 1991 as well as the CPTPP.” UPOV is the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants.

Sugarnta Sukpaita, a labor-rights activist...said:..“When questions were asked about people’s access to seeds, food sovereignty or access to medicine, the responses from the government representatives were identical: As [long] as they are not patented everything will be OK,” she said.

...APWLD issued a statement...opposing this mega free-trade agreement, as it would only put power and privilege into the hands of large multinational corporations and the wealthiest few.

The CPTPP would require countries to treat foreign companies in the same way they treat local ones, pushing women, who comprise the majority of small-scale, subsistence farmers, to compete against huge agribusinesses. The tightened intellectual-property rights would prohibit seed sharing among farmers, impacting women who are the custodians of seeds, forcing them out of their farms and the local economy.

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