Foreign Minister: Thai rice of good quality for export to China

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BANGKOK, Sept 4 – Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul on Wednesday said Thai rice exported to China is of good quality, for it tended be packaged and exported directly by the Commerce Ministry.

Mr Surapong spoke of the discussion between the Thai premier and her counterpart Li Xiaoqiang on Monday during her recent official visit that China indicated that it would buy one million tonnes of rice from Thailand. If the rice of price reached Bt15,000/tonnes, Thailand would be able to generate Bt15 billion in revenue, he said.

The Commerce Ministry would continue the matter, including indicating a collaboration and management timeframe as well as packaging and delivering the rice for export.

The Thai government plans to export rice of good quality, Mr Surapong said, for, according to him, some exporters insert a high amount of rice of low quality in exporting, causing a downgrade to Thai rice.

Meanwhile, he affirmed that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s trips abroad are to benefit the country and worth the expense budget, which some claimed was as high as Bt300 million. He said if rice export to China was successful, it would mean the travel budget was as slight as 1.2 per cent of the price of rice sold.

The leaders of both countries also discussed the high-speed train matter. China is interested in connecting routes between China-Lao PDR-Thailand. Thailand wished some part of the payment be made as trade by agricultural goods, a which needed to be agreed upon again, while trade between the two countries was discussed to be paid in Chinese yuan currency instead of US dollars.

The Chinese authorities are ready to revive the Thai-Chinese economic joint committee held the last time in 2005. They also agreed to hold talks among countries in the Mekong subregion to find ways to manage the Mekong River. A ministerial meeting is expected to be held early next year for further tangible results.

The Thai premier suggested setting up a subcommittee to specially discuss agricultural matters.

Mr Surapong added that the Chinese prime minister agreed to pay an official visit to Thailand around October, while he had invited his Thai counterpart to revisit China early next year.