Speaking at his first day in office at the Ministry of Commerce, Thailand’s newly installed deputy prime minister and commerce minister, Jurin Laksanawisit, vows to push ahead with income guarantees for farmers, export stimulus, cost-of-living supervision, and trade talks as some of his foremost priorities.
Income guarantee for farmers would in turn offer crop price guarantees not only for rice, but also other mass produced crops such as rubber, tapioca, oil palm, and corn; all of which the vast majority of the population is involved with.
The income guarantee plan would guarantee that farmers will receive the difference between insured rice prices and benchmark prices that change every two weeks following market prices. Schemes such as these are designed to avoid accruing a burden of millions of tonnes of rice stock.
Another key area of focus for the Thai government is exports. According to Mr Jurin, this comes after many forecasting organisations offered bleak predictions for this year’s shipments.
“We still believe in Thailand’s overall export potential,” he said, “and we’re confident that the private sector will be instrumental in driving export growth while helping to rein in domestic goods and services prices as well as consumers’ costs of living.”
Additionally, Mr Jurin also pledged to reinvigorate trade talks such as those revolving around the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The RCEP bloc was launched in November 2012 with the goal of deeper economic cooperation among the 10 Asean members and six dialogue partners (China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, India and New Zealand).
The Deputy Prime Minister has also stated his commitment on restarting talks on the Thai-EU free trade agreement, although the new government has yet to put out an official policy to parliament on this issue.