PM: Government to give rice to Haiti, January 2010

The Thai government will donate rice to help the people in earthquake-hit Haiti, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Tuesday.

"The government decided not to donate money [to Haiti] because the country would just spend the money to buy goods anyway," Mr Abhisit said.

The government was widely criticised for initially donating only US$20,000 to Haiti after it was devastated by the 7.0-magnitude earthquake last week.

On economic issues, the prime minister said Japan External Trade organisation (Jetro) chairman Yasuo Hayashi will not visit him to discuss the problems in Rayong's Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate, despite reports to the contrary.

"The Jetro chairman has met former deputy prime minister Korbsak Sabhavasu and Industry Minister Charnchai Chairungruang several times to discuss the Map Ta Phut impasse already," he said.

Work on 64 out of 76 new industrial projects in the country's largest industrial estate has been suspended by the Supreme Administrative Court after they failed to comply with constitutional requirements on the need for environmental and health impact assessments.

Mr Abhisit said he had talked with a Nobel Prize-winning economist, American Eric Maskin, and they agreed  the economy will perform better this year than last year.