Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The civil societies of the Southeast Asian nations grouped in the ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC) / ASEAN People`s Forum (AFP) criticized on Wednesday the European Union - ASEAN Free Trade Agreement.

The ASEAN-EU Free Trade Agreement, which would be signed on Thursday (May 5) can harm the interest of ASEAN members as developing countries from the aspects of state sovereignty and the government support for people`s interest, the ACSC/APF said in a press statement here on Wednesday.

They criticized among others the EU-ASEAN patent right agreement which required ASEAN generic drugs to wait one year longer before they could produce similar patent drugs with law price which is within the financial reach of the people.

Member of Malaysian parliament Charles Santiago, who is also a noted civil society figure, said that the agreement would in the end destroy generic drug industry in ASEAN countries.

"It is clearly not a win-win solution because it would not produce a balanced result for us developing nations," he said.

The free trade agreement is also viewed as to endanger the sovereignty of the state because European firms would be allowed to suit ASEAN countries at the International Court of Justice if they found a policy they considered harmful to them.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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