Controversies of 2012
'The finance minister sometimes lies to the public if necessary to establish confidence. But these are white lies."
The remark made by Kittiratt Na-Ranong, the finance minister and deputy prime minister, in August could be rated the quote of the year.
Mr Kittiratt later retracted the admission, insisting his self-confessed white lie was really not a lie at all.
But he admitted the export target, originally set at 15%, represented "a working goal" aimed at encouraging relevant parties to put forth their best effort.
In the latest forecast, export growth is expected to end 2012 between 4.5% and 5%.
The revelation that the target was known to be unrealistic from the start drew criticism from some quarters.
Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said while losses incurred from the white lie cannot be measured, the remark hurt the credibility of both the government and the minister himself.
"Once the first lie is made, people will surely think there will be another in pursuit," said the outspoken rice veteran.
He cited another "white lie" related to government-to-government (G-to-G) rice deals. "The commerce minister just keeps telling white lies after claiming the government signed contracts to export as much as 7.3 millions tonnes of rice under the pledging scheme through G-to-G deals while remaining tight-lipped over the details of such sales."
Boonsong Teriyapirom in September announced his ministry had concluded six export deals for a combined 7.33 million tonnes of rice through G-to-G contracts with Indonesia, the Philippines, China and Ivory Coast.
But he declined to offer details of the transactions, particularly prices or how much each buyer purchased, giving only vague assurances that deliveries had already begun and would be completed by year-end.
He said the claim of selling 1.4 million tonnes in 2012 is unlikely, as only 300,000 tonnes were found to have been shipped.