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Russia pays old debt

THAILAND: It’s taken 20 years but Russia has finally repaid a debt to Thailand of US$36 million (B1.1 billion), incurred by the former Soviet Union.

Saturday 9 July 2011, 08:22AM

Commerce Ministry spokesman Chatchai Chookaew said this week that the funds transfer was made on June 15 by the Russian government to the Export-Import Bank of Thailand (EXIM Bank).

Like so many people who get stiffed lending to others, the Thai government didn’t force the issue of interest on the 1990 sale of 200,000 tonnes of rice that was never paid for.

Thai Commerce Minister Pornthiva Nakasai travelled to Moscow to sign an agreement on May 31 with Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak whereby Russia agreed to repay the principle owing by July 12.

The minister noted that some interest had been paid on the debt, but agreed to waive the remainder, totalling US$9 million (B270 million).


At that time, the minister said the accord was to maintain good relations between the two countries. Russia, she said, is an interesting market for Thailand, as it is dependent on rice imports of 400,000 tonnes a year.

The 1990 rice payment was originally supposed to have been made within two years of the sale, but in the interim the Soviet Union collapsed, and the new Russian Federation government could not meet the obligation.

Several rounds of negotiations followed, leading to the final agreement and payment this month. – MCOT

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