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Thailand’s ambassador in dire straits after opposing India, returns from WTO meeting

ByOpenindiatimes.com

Mar 2, 2024
Thailand News

Thailand’s Ambassador Pimchanok Wonkorpon, who commented on India’s rice purchases at the World Trade Organization, ultimately got the upper hand on Pitfield. Thailand has asked Pitfield to return to Thailand from the World Trade Organization (WTO) 13th Ministerial Conference (MC-13). Now the Foreign Secretary of Thailand has taken his place in this meeting. This ministerial level talks of the World Trade Organization entered the fifth day. The Thai ambassador had said that the program of purchasing rice at Minimum Support Price (MSP) for India’s public distribution system is not for the people, but to capture the export market. India had lodged a strong protest on this issue. Only after this was Pitfield called back.

This is how the comeback role was prepared

In this entire matter, Indian officials had boycotted the ministerial meeting in which the Thai representative was present. The government had also raised this matter with Thailand. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal had raised the issue during meetings with his US and EU counterparts as well as UAE Trade Minister Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi and WTO chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The Indian delegation held a closed-door meeting on agricultural trade reforms, especially providing flexibility to the government for procurement of food grains for the public distribution system. During this meeting, India was angry with the aggressive tone of Pitfield’s interference. Furthermore, some representatives of rich countries appreciated the Thai Ambassador’s statement. Indian officials said this was factually incorrect. They accused the government of exporting 40% of the rice purchased for the PDS, an official said.

Developed countries created this matter together?

Another official said, it appears that the entire matter has been hatched in collaboration with some developed countries. While some countries had made similar noises during the WTO meetings in Geneva, the government also saw it as an attempt to create a story. According to this, India has flooded the global markets with subsidized rice, which is not in accordance with global trade rules. The reality, according to the government official, is that their facts were wrong, as the government purchases only 40 percent of the paddy yield to meet food security commitments. The remaining portion is not purchased by government-owned agencies, he said. It is exported from India at market prices.

India is a big exporter of rice

The government recently restricted exports of non-Basmati rice to reduce domestic prices. India is seeking a solution to the issue of subsidy cap, which is calculated at prices fixed at 1986-88 levels. The limit of 10% has been violated in this. Like India, Thailand is also a major rice exporting country. On various forums, some developed and developing countries have alleged that public storage of commodities like rice by India distorts the rates in the global market. India was the world’s largest rice exporter from 2018 to 2022. It was followed by Thailand and Vietnam.


By Openindiatimes.com

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