Big campaign promises in the rice sector may bring back old problems. The WTO and angry trade partners might even get involved too.
Idea to revive rice mortgage plan blasted, Democrats warn of big losses, Vietnam rivalry
The Democrats fiercely criticised the government's plan to revive the rice mortgage scheme during the second day of the parliamentary debate on government policies yesterday.
The opposition said the scheme was ineffective, favouring rich exporters rather than poor farmers, would expose the state to possible huge losses and possibly violate a regulation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Democrat list MP Kiat Sittheeamorn expressed doubts the rice mortgage scheme would be successful.
He said the Somchai Wongsawat government had implemented the scheme back in 2008 which caused a massive loss of 16 billion baht to the state.
It also led to a quota system that benefited large-scale exporters.
Mr Kiat cited a study by the Thailand Development Research Institute which concluded the previous mortgage scheme helped only one-third of Thai rice farmers and around 500,000-600,000 tonnes of rice from neighbouring countries was used to fraudulently claim privilege prices from the government.
Mr Kiat also warned the government its rice mortgage scheme might violate a WTO regulation which he said limited member states' subsidies to 10% of their products.
He wondered if the government's plan to spend 472 billion baht on the mortgage scheme would breach the limit. If it did violate the regulation, Thailand could face international lawsuits and trade partners might impose trade barriers.
Consequently, Thailand's other export-oriented industries would be affected and workers would be at risk of losing their jobs, Mr Kiat said
He said the mortgage scheme could further widen the price gap between Thai rice and Vietnamese rice, encouraging local consumers to switch.
Democrat list MP Trairong Suwannakhiri said the previous rice mortgage scheme had benefited just 15% of Thai farmers and officials had casually spent government money on it.
He pointed out the scheme with high rice prices set by the government would not encourage farmers to cut their production costs. In the meantime Vietnam, which is an arch-rival of Thailand in rice exports, is researching cost reduction and its rice is now cheaper than Thai rice
Vietnam is researching and developing irrigation, fertilisers and rice strains to cut costs. Vietnam sells its rice at US$570 a tonne while Thailand prices its product at $625 a tonne. This would pose marketing problems for Thai rice.
Mr Trairong warned Thailand could no longer be proud of its premium rice because the quality of Vietnamese fragrant rice almost matches that of Thai rice. Vietnamese rice has 70% of the Asian market
The Democrat said when he became deputy prime minister in the last government, rice stocks resulting from the previous mortgage scheme amounted to 5.6 million tonnes. The government had to pay 10 billion baht a year for rice warehouse storage, as well as interest, and some lots of rice had been kept for as long as eight years as they could not be sold.
The storage of Thai rice under the mortgage scheme also raised the price of rice in global markets because Thai rice did not get there, he added
(Source: Bangkok Post, Idea to revive rice mortgage plan blasted, Democrats warn of big losses, Vietnam rivalry, 25/08/2011, link)
Agricultural Policy Vocabulary
revive - to come or bring something back to life, health, existence, or use ทำให้ฟื้นชีพ
rice mortgage - the old system of supporting rice prices by pretending to loan money to farmers (with their rice left as security, which they never picked up because the amount they had received for the rice was so far above market prices, i.e. a subsidy)
scheme - a plan that is developed by a government or large organisation in order to provide a particular service for people แผนการ โครงการ
revive the rice mortgage scheme - bringing the "rice mortgage" scheme back into use
blasted - criticised severely โดนว่า
rivalry - competition between groups of people, business, teams, etc.(both trying to get the same limited resources or win the one prize) การแข่งขันกัน,การเป็นคู่ต่อสู้กัน
fiercely - very strongly อย่างรุนแรง, อย่างดุเดือด
criticize - find fault with, find things that are incorrect
fiercely criticised - criticized very strongly
debate - a discussion or formal argument on an issue between people with different views (See Wikipedia)
parliamentary debate - when MPs debate possible policies
opposition - of a political party that is not part of the government or a group which is against the government ฝ่ายค้าน ผู้ต่อต้าน
ineffective - does not work well, does not produce intended results
state - government รัฐ
expose the state to possible huge losses - acted in a way such that the government risked losing a lot of money
violate - to do something that is against a law, rule or agreement ฝ่าฝืนกฎหมาย
regulation - an official rule that controls the way that things are done กฎระเบียบ ระเบียบข้อบังคับ
doubts - feel uncertain and question whether something is really true or will work
expressed doubts - said he felt uncertain about something and really wondered whether it would work
implemented - when a plan is put into action, actually doing the things in a plan
implemented the scheme - put the plan for the scheme into action (carried out plan, executed plan)
massive - very large in size, amount or numberใหญ่โต มหาศาล
massive loss - losing a lot of money
quota - the limited quantity that is officially allowed (for example, an import quota for clothing from an exporting country )
scale - size (relative size)
large-scale - large sized
benefited large-scale exporters
cited - mentioned (to support a point you are making or arguing) กล่าวถึง
cited a study - mentioned facts that research established (to support your argument)
Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) - Thailand's most well-known and respected policy research organization (See Wikipedia and website)
study concluded - the study found that that certain facts were true (established certain facts)
fraud (noun) - the crime of tricking and cheating people
fraudulently (adverb) - done in a way that tricks and cheats people
claim - try to get some benefit (example: after the accident they made an insurance claim to pay for damage to their car)
privilege - a special benefit that is available only to a particular person or group เอกสิทธิ์
fraudulently claim privilege prices
WTO - World Trade Organization, an international organization based in Geneva that monitors and enforces rules governing global trade (See Wikipedia and WGoogle Definitions)
WTO regulation - a WTO rule about how export-import trade (or international trade) between countries must be done
subsidies - when the government pays part of the cost of some activity to encourage it เงินช่วยเหลือจากรัฐ เงินสนับสนุน
breach - a failure to follow a law or rule การละเมิดกฎหมาย, ละเมิดกฎหมาย
limit - a highest or lowest amount
breach the limit - go beyond the amount allowed by law
international - between countries ระหว่างประเทศ
lawsuits - a case in a court of law to end a dispute between two people
international lawsuits - a legal case brought by an negatively affected foreign rice importing country against Thailand in the WTO
trade - the buying and selling of goods การค้าขาย
trade partners - other countries that you export goods to and import goods from
impose - to introduce something, such as a new law or new system and force people to accept it นำกฎหมายมาบังคับใช้
impose trade barriers - create new taxes or tariffs on imports, or other actions that would make it more difficult for Thai exports to gain entry to the country
oriented - many concerned with or directed towards
risk - the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen ความเสี่ยง
at risk of losing their jobs
gap - a large difference or space between two things ช่องว่าง
further widen the price gap between Thai rice and Vietnamese rice
local - in this country (here: Thailand)
consumers - people who buy things (individuals and families)
switch - a change เปลี่ยน
encouraging local consumers to switch - would make Thais want to buy Vietnamese rice instead of rice in their own country
pointed out -
encourage - to make someone more likely to do something, or to make something more likely to happen ปลุกใจ
rival - a person, group, team or business that competes with another คู่แข่ง
arch-rival of Thailand
irrigation - the process of bringing water to land through a system of pipes, ditches, etc. in order to make crops grow ระบบชลประทาน (See Wikipedia)
fertilisers - chemicals or natural substances that help plants grow, food for plants (See Wikipedia)
rice strains - different varieties of rice
pose problem - cause a problem or difficulty เป็นเหตุให้
pose market problems - make it more difficult to sell products to customers
premium rice - extra high quality rice (that you pay extra to get)
stocks - large amounts stored for future use
rice stocks - large amounts of rice stored for future use
warehouse - a large building for storing things โกดังสินค้า, คลังสินค้า, โรงพัสดุ
storage - the putting and keeping of things in a special place for use in the future การเก็บ
interest - payments made for the use of another's money for a period of time
global - throughout the world ทั่วโลก; ทั้งโลก
global markets - markets for goods around the world (not just in one country)
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