Thailand-Japan deal disappoints

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”: Thai­land is one of the world’s biggest and “most competitive”: 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”: 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.

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