Developing Countries Will Lead Global Rice Import Growth in 2013-22, Says USDA Rice growers positive California MG prices are UP Russia MG Harvest coming to end Egypt open rice exports Vietnam’s rice export in tough competition with India Thai rice exports in May Rise Above Target This Year Viet-Nam Rice exports likely to fall this year
Australia Medium Grain Rice #1 $ N/A    Egypt 101 #2 $760    Egypt 178 #2 Rice $730    EU Prices Baldo €660    EU Prices LG-A Ariete 5% €550    EU Prices MG Lotto 5% €500    EU Prices RG Balilla 5% €500    Russia Rapan $ 700    USA Jupiter Paddy $375    USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480    USA Jupiter Rice $630    USA Calrose #1 $830   

 Main Page
 Home Page of This Title
 Medium Grain Rice Market
 Global Market News
 Grain News
 Pulses News
 Global Overview
 Importers Profile
 Exporters Profile
 What Is Rice
 History Of Rice
 Rice Harvest Seasons
 Rice Processing
 Rice Nutrition Facts
 Meals With Rice
 INCO Terms
 US Rice Standards
 EU Codex Standards
 Egyptian Specs
 Sponsor List
 All Links
 Commodity Exchange
Search in news database
For Thai rice farmers, WTO talks mean little
BANGKU, Thailand Far from the brilliant green rice paddies that spread across the fertile flatlands here, economists in Europe have calculated that Thailand's farmers would be among the biggest winners if failed global trade talks were revived and succeed.

By one estimate, the Thai economy would gain $1.2 billion annually if governments from Japan to Europe and the United States removed their barriers to rice, sugar and manufactured goods.

But Jampa Tongprasert, a wiry farmer whose weather-worn, powerful hands are testament to 50 years of working the soil, is not impressed. "I've never heard of it," Jampa said, referring to the World Trade Organization and the collapse of world trade talks late last month.

Neither has Thanu Jaengprajak, who heads a rice cooperative with 231 members. "I haven't followed it," he said of the trade negotiations.

In Thailand's rice heartland - which was supposed to have benefited most from a global trade deal - there is indifference, a lack of awareness and skepticism about negotiations that began in Doha, Qatar, in 2001. Economists and trade officials say this is a public relations problem for supporters of overhauling the global trading system.

In wealthy countries, the potential losers of a trade deal have been far more vocal, creating a lopsided cacophony of criticism toward the lowering of trade barriers. Farmers in Europe, the United States and Japan, for example, are keenly aware of how much they have to lose if the WTO talks succeed. Farmers in the West lobby their governments and organize occasional protests knowing that when their subsidies and trade protection are slashed, some may be forced to cease farming altogether.

But the potential winners, said Stefan Tangermann, who heads the agriculture division at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, are often not fully aware of the possible gains.

"This is the problem with trade negotiations," said Tangermann, whose office calculated the $1.2 billion gain for Thailand. "The losers know precisely what they lose. But the gainers sometimes know less precisely what they gain. It's less directly visible."

That farmers here feel far removed from the air-conditioned meeting rooms where trade ministers have haggled in vain to reach a deal is no big surprise: Talk in Lopburi Province, two hours north of Bangkok, often centers on the weather and the price and effectiveness of pesticides rather than geopolitics.

But even when farmers are made aware of the calculations showing how much they could win from liberalization of agricultural markets, they are skeptical.

"If the talks succeed, it will benefit only the big companies," said Sommai Prayad, the assistant manager of the Thawung Agricultural Cooperative.

Sommai said that he had never heard anyone speak about the WTO talks. Next to his office, bulldozers scoop up tons of unhusked rice and drop it into trucks owned by merchants who come to the cooperative to inspect and buy.

Farmers are keenly aware of how much their rice fetches and say they are satisfied with the price, about 6.2 baht, or 16 cents, per kilogram, or 2.2 pounds.

The soil is so rich and the water so plentiful here that Jampa says he sometimes manages to plant and harvest four times a year, a pace that has helped Thailand become the world's largest rice exporter. "Most of the time you just watch it grow," Jampa said of his paddies. Jampa sells the rice to the merchant who offers the best price but he has little idea of where it ends up, or whether it is exported or not.

After trade talks were suspended July 24, Pascal Lamy, the director general of the World Trade Organization, singled out Thai rice farmers as among the most disappointed. "The trauma generated by the collapse of global trade talks may not yet register on the streets of New York, Paris or Tokyo," Lamy wrote in an opinion article published in the International Herald Tribune on July 28. "But for cotton growers in West Africa, rice farmers in Thailand and beef producers in Latin America the reverberations are already being felt."

In fact, the collapse of the negotiations was a nonevent both here and in the capital. The front pages of Bangkok's newspapers carried headlines about the successful back surgery undergone by King Bhumibol Adulyadej and a coming election.

Nathasit Diskul, a WTO specialist in the Thai Commerce Ministry, said his country had been distracted by domestic politics. But Thai farmers, he added, "are not fully receptive to international trade regimes or negotiations."

"Most Thai farmers are not well educated like in Europe or the United States," he said. "Explaining these terms and negotiations is something that is far away for them."

Thai rice farmers would undoubtedly gain from better access to such markets as South Korea and Japan, Nathasit said, where very little Thai rice is exported because of barriers that cumulatively amount to a 700 percent tariff. But the message has not filtered out to the countryside. "Partly we are to blame for that," Nathasit said. "We need to enhance our public outreach and communications."

U.S. mulls a trade exclusion

Russia, Brazil and India are among a group of 13 countries that could lose preferential trade benefits granted by the United States under a review announced Monday by the Bush administration, The Associated Press reported from Washington.

The U.S. trade representative, Susan Schwab, said the administration wanted to determine whether certain countries should be excluded from the Generalized System of Preferences program that grants duty-free treatment for goods from 133 developing countries. The review follows complaints from members of Congress that some countries had not been helpful in efforts to achieve a global trade agreement. The other countries that could lose benefits are Argentina, Croatia, Indonesia, Kazahstan, Philippines, Romania, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela, according to information supplied by Schwab's office.
MGR Archive 8.8.2006
Printer Friendly Version Of This Article
Send This Article To A Friend
User Name:
      Forgot your Password?
Region Type Price  
Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
Click for Details

Medium Grain Reports
Rice Market News
World Rice Markets and Trade
USDA Country Reports
Rice Market Monitor
Rice Outlook
Italian Paddy Supply
European Rice Weekly
EU Reports
Convert this amount:

  © 2002 All rights reserved. - Legal Notice