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SUNDAY, December 03, 2023

Crop prices, exports rose, inflation declined, says Jurin, rebutting opposition attacks

Crop prices, exports rose, inflation declined, says Jurin, rebutting opposition attacks
THURSDAY, February 16, 2023

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit hit back at criticism by opposition MPs during a debate late on Wednesday, saying his ministry had helped exports grow and increased the prices of cash crops, while inflation had fallen.

Jurin said the opposition had not provided accurate information and argued that the Commerce Ministry under his leadership had performed creditably.

Jurin said the inflation rate in January dropped to 5%, adding it would fall to 2.8% this year against the International Monetary Fund’s forecast of global inflation at 6.5%.

The minister said the prices of consumer goods had dropped a lot, and were no longer expensive as alleged by the opposition. He said the Commerce Ministry has been monitoring 58 consumer goods and has seen their prices drop.

For example, Jurin said, the price of pork had dropped from 300 baht per kilogram to 165 baht and the price of palm oil had fallen by 17% to 48-50 baht per bottle.

The commerce minister said the opposition also provided inaccurate information by saying prices of all crops had fallen.

He said the price guarantee scheme of his ministry had helped raise the price of paddy rice to almost 10,000 baht per tonne and to about 14,000 to 15,000 baht for a tonne of jasmine rice.

He said the price of cassava also rose from about one baht per kg to over 3 baht and he has brought a Philippine company to sign an advance purchasing contract of 2 million tonnes of cassava in Nakhon Ratchasima province.

But Jurin admitted that the price of rubber fell to about 45-49 baht per kg. However, he blamed it to the global economic slowdown and the easing of the Covid crisis, resulting in less use of latex gloves.

He said Thailand’s exports did not slow down as alleged by the opposition. Last year, export value rose by 5.5% and exports generated income of 9.94 trillion baht for the kingdom.

Jurin said the opposition was right when it said Thailand was behind Vietnam in terms of having free trade agreements (FTA). But it has been like this since the Yingluck Shinawatra government and his ministry was instead catching up with Vietnam, Jurin said.

He said Thailand now has 14 FTA contracts with 18 countries, while Vietnam has 16 contracts with 54 countries. Jurin said he was trying tor reach an FTA with the European Union, which has been pending for over 10 years. If the talks are successful, Thailand would have another FTA contract with 27 more countries, Jurin added.