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Turbulent Thailand

Thailand's emerging trade hawks cloud TPP membership push

Cabinet reshuffle risks ousting officials promoting market opening

Thailand serves as a home to plants from several Japanese automakers that would benefit if the Southeast Asian country joined the TPP.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Thailand's prospective entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact could be in jeopardy if a looming cabinet reshuffle removes the country's economic czar and brings in an administration stacked with military-backed protectionists.

An internal revolt roiling the ruling Palang Pracharat Party threatens to oust its leader, Uttama Savanayana, who supports economic liberalization, along with Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, the man behind the country's push to join the free trade bloc. This could put Thailand's TPP membership up in the air.

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