PM tells Niwatthamrong to clarify rice deal

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today advised Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisarl to clarify his claim of the 1.2 million tons rice deal Thailand has concluded with China.

The prime minister was responding to report in a news agency quoted a Chinese official source as admitting a government-to-government deal had been taking place with Thailand for some time but nothing had been settled.

The report also said it was impossible for China to import that much rice as China doesn’t need that much.

The report was revealed by Democrat MP and former finance minister Korn Chatikavanij in his Facebook.

Prime Minister Yingluck said that the rice deal with China was undertaken by the commerce minister  and therefore he would clarify by himself because he made contact directly with China.

But the prime minister said that in any official trade trip to China, the private sector always accompanied official team  and that it may not be a  government-to-government deal.

She said that the government has tried all channels to sell rice  and this was now undertaken by the commerce minister.

Asked to comment on the proposal of the rice farmers to extend registration of the the rice pledging scheme, she said it needed more discussion with relevant government agencies.

On the ongoing protest by rubber farmers in the South and accusation by government men that opposition party was behind the protest, the prime minister said the security officials knew exactly well of what was going on there and said that the farmers who entered talk with government representatives truly represented the rubber farmers as a whole.

But for those still were unsatisfied with the subsidy offer, it needed time to talk to them and would like them not to resort to road blockades again, she said.