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Millers chide government for missing opportunity


May 6, 2008

Millers chide government for missing opportunity

Thailand missed a strong opportunity to influence global rice prices in bypassing the bid to sell rice to the Philippine government, the Thai News Agency reported.

Without participation by the world’s top two rice exporters Vietnam and Thailand, the Philippine government reportedly called off a bid to buy 500,000 tonnes of rice on Monday, according to trading sources.

The Thai companies were disqualified to enter the bidding because the Philippine government demanded a state guarantee, a practice which is not allowed under Thai law.

Still, the Thai government could have sent the Public Warehouse Organisation, a  Commerce Ministry agency, according to Wattana Ratanawong, chairman of the Thai Rice Mill Association.

Wattana said the Public Warehouse Organisation holds a rice export license and as a state-owned enterprise is eligible for state guarantees as required

Moreover, the Thai government has 2.1 million tonnes of rice in stock, and it should not worry about domestic demand as new lots of harvest become gradually available.

“What the Philippines wants to buy is the output due for harvest in the next 4-6 months and the Public Warehouse Organisation has the means to mobilise the amount from domestic traders. Still the government did not act, prompting us to question why it opted out of this opportunity in the Philippines,” Wattana said.

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