A joint statement by Mr Obama and Ms Yingluck on Sunday evening is expected to affirm Thailand's interest in joining the TPP pact. Mr Obama, who will make his first visit to Thailand today as part of a four-day Southeast Asian tour, has made expanding the TPP a top priority for US foreign and trade policies.

"A number of parties have expressed concern about Thailand's participation in the TPP,'' Ms Yingluck said on Saturday.

"No agreement has been made. We are only expressing interest in studying the details and the pros and cons. There will be no talks on this issue with President Obama.''

Ms Yingluck said any decision to join the TPP would first have to be approved by the cabinet and the Parliament, and that the views expressed by all parties would be considered before any decision is made. 

Thailand is seeking to become the 12th country to join the TPP, a trade pact originally launched by Chile, New Zealand and Singapore but has now expanded to include talks with Australia, Vietnam and Malaysia.

November 17, 2012

Source: Bangkok Post