Thailand barters on EUR 1.9bn Airbus deal

23rd November 2004, Comments 0 comments

BANGKOK, Nov 23 (AFP) - The Thai government on Tuesday threatened to delay a deal to buy eight European Airbus planes for its national carrier in an attempt to persuade Europe to buy more of its agricultural products.

BANGKOK, Nov 23 (AFP) - The Thai government on Tuesday threatened to delay a deal to buy eight European Airbus planes for its national carrier in an attempt to persuade Europe to buy more of its agricultural products.

The cabinet approved a EUR1.9bn (THB 96.3bn) deal to buy 14 aircraft for Thai Airways, split between rival manufacturers Boeing and the European consortium Airbus, but rejected a cash-only deal.

Thailand has complained it is being treated unfairly by Europe and wants France to ease restrictions on its chicken and shrimp exports before going ahead with the agreement.

The government has a policy of pushing for barters on state deals worth millions of dollars. "The Thai government is inventing new economic financial tools," government spokesman Jakrapob Penkair told AFP.

"If there's a delay let there be a delay. Thailand will not be in any urgency to buy planes from France."

Under the deal approved by the cabinet Tuesday, Thai Airways would buy eight aircraft from Airbus including six A380s, which will be the world's largest commercial airliner able to carry 555 passengers.

It will also buy six 777-200ER aircraft from Boeing.

The outline purchase plans were announced by the airline in July but were subject to approval by the government, its main shareholder.

After the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra told reporters: "There will be no purchase signing until we have got a clear position from the European Union that they will give us justice and buy more of our agricultural products."

The airline has previously said that the A380 super jumbos would be used on its European routes and the smaller aircraft would be used on US and Australian routes.

After launching a major share offering last year, Thai Airways said it would use the funds to upgrade its aircraft and regain its leading status from rivals such as Singapore Airlines.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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