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Bangkok - Exporters lose their licences
The Nation, September 28, 2004
Several rice exporters have lost their licences and the same fate awaits more if their products fail to meet quality standards, the Commerce Ministry has warned.

The ministry is withdrawing export licences to punish traders of contaminated goods in order to maintain the country’s status as the world’s leading rice exporter.

Commerce Minister Watana Muangsook yesterday justified the revocation of licences as a means of preserving the quality and image of Thai rice. “We want to show the world that the Thai government is concerned about the contamination of our rice products,” he said.

Until the advent of DNA testing, he said, there had been no sound measure to detect rice contamination and ensure good quality, resulting in many complaints from importers.

“Exporters who allow the contamination of rice from its origin will be punished by having their licences invalidated,” Watana said.

The implementation of stricter export standards and punishment measures are aimed at resolving problems that have arisen regarding Thai rice exports.

Some exporters had shipped Pathum Thani rice while claiming it was higher-quality and costlier jasmine rice, and taken advantage of the price difference.

Importers have also complained about contamination.

The ministry recently informed the country’s rice export association and importing countries of its decision to bolster standards in order to regain credibility for Thai rice exports, the minister said.

Some exporters have already been punished, but Watana refused to say how many.

The ministry meanwhile is circulating plans to increase the guaranteed price for main-crop rice, beginning in November, from Bt6,300 to Bt6,600 per tonne.

The price was Bt5,330 per tonne at this time last year.

The price of husked rice will rise 10 per cent, from Bt6,100 to Bt6,400 per tonne, compared with Bt5,045 last year.

The price hikes are aimed at giving the Thai rice market a psychological boost as well as adding to local farmers’ income.

There will also be strict implementation of the government’s pledge policy in order to block corruption.

Bank guarantees of 5 per cent above the total rice pledging price will be required from silo and mill owners by the Public Warehouse Organisation, which has authority on the issue.
MGR Archive 28.9.2004
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