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Indonesia plane seller insists on cash, not barter JAKARTA - The managing director of the Indonesian aircraft firm involved in a sale to Thailand has directly contradicted Thai government claims it will take 300,000 tonnes of Thai rice for the sale - and insists the deal will involve cash.

In a report from Jakarta, M. Nuril Fuad of aircraft maker PT Dirgantara Indonesia has told the official Indonesian news agency Antara that in fact the Thai government has already agreed to pay cash in US dollars for the planned purchase of 10 CN-235 aircraft - although inside Thailand it has insisted the deal is a counter-trade (a sophisticated form of barter) arrangement.

The sale was announced in Thailand last week. Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Sudarat Keyuraphan said Indonesia had agreed to barter the 10 aircraft for 300,000 tonnes of Thai rice.

Khunying Sudarat claimed last Friday that the two countries' new barter trade agreement was concluded at a plenary meeting between Thai and Indonesian officials, chaired by Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the Government House during Gen Susilo's visit to Thailand. But Mr Nuril directly contradicted Khunying Sudarat in his Antara interview, so clearly that only one version of the story can be correct:

He explained the 10 CN-235 aircraft ordered by Thailand are worth between $200 and $220 million, (8.181 billion to 8.999 billion baht) and the payment will be made in cash, in US dollars. "So the Thai Government will not barter rice for the planes," he told Antara. Mr Nuril specifically addressed the concept of barter, according to Antara, saying the sale of CN-235 based on the counter-purchase system is not realistic. He specifically noted the opposition in Indonesia to importing rice, from farmers and traders alike.

The state-owned PT Dirgantara Indonesia originally agreed to barter aircraft to Thailand in 2000, he said. But when merchants opposed this system, Thailand was forced to pay in cash instead of in sticky rice as originally agreed. Antara said that the Indonesian Minister of State Enterprises Sugiharto had specifically told the press in Bangkok during his recent visit that the Jakarta government would not apply the counter purchase mechanism in selling the ten units of aircraft.

The government has announced that six of the planned 10 twin-engined propeller aircraft will be operated by the agriculture ministry, while the other four cargo planes will be handed to the Royal Thai Air Force.



Posted in Economy @ 22 December 2005 07:06 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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