Just as it will put a ceiling on Thailand’s opportunities in the Japanese market so the weak offer that the Thai PM extracted from his Japanese counterpart this weekend will affect our opportunities in Thailand. bq. Thailand had agreed to drop its demand that Japan eliminate import tariffs on rice, and in return Japan will study eliminating or reducing tariffs on Thai chicken, sugar and starch, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said on Sunday.(“Channel News Asia”:http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific_business/view/110999/1/.html) Thailand is one of the world’s biggest and “most competitive”:http://www.fao.org/rice2004/en/p17.htm producers of rice; eminently capable of producing the rice varieties of interest to Japan. The possible improvements in Thailand’s access to the Japanese market for sugar and poultry are welcome, of course. But Japan’s government has yet again found its absurd protection for rice validated by a trade agreement. The USA is being criticised for it’s high levels of support for cotton, that cuts the incomes of cotton farmers in countries like Mali and Niger. But millions of subsistence farmers in dozens of poor countries all over Asia would benefit from the price impact of competitive access to the “sequestered rice market”:http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/rcs/mar03/rcs030301/rcs0303-01.pdf of the richest country in Asia where consumers pay 2.5 to 3 times the competitive world price for 10–12 millions tonnes of rice every year.
Peter Gallagher is student of piano and photography. He was formerly a senior trade official of the Australian government. For some years after leaving government, he consulted to international organizations, governments and business groups on trade and public policy.
He teaches graduate classes at the University of Adelaide on trade research methods and the role of firms in trade and growth and tweets trade (and other) stuff from @pwgallagher