Official insists government rice deals are legitimate


BANGKOK, Oct 18 – A high-ranking commerce ministry official stood firm that Thailand’s government-to-government (G-to-G) rice sales are not a breach of the constitution as charged by a group of senators.

Vatcharee Vimuktayont, permanent secretary for commerce, said the agreements to sell rice from the government’s rice pledging scheme to other governments are not against Section 190 of the constitution which stipulates that any contract involving national security must be approved by parliament.

She said the G-to-G rice deals are trading matters and the rice sales will help farmers who have been suffering from the declining prices of rice.

Natural disasters will occur worldwide next year, she claimed, so it will be a good time for Thailand to export rice.

Ms Vatcharee said the commerce minister will appoint a ministry spokesman to specifically explain rice sales and policies.

The Commerce Ministry has been heavily criticised by the public, academics and opposition parties on its handling of the rice pledging scheme and the G-to-G rice deals.