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NORAD-support with no environmental conditions

Frionor Thailand has received support from NORAD several times; most recently in 1996, when the company was granted a loan of USD 2 million. The money was used to build a new factory, following the Thai authorities' demand that the old, run-down factory in Bangkok be abandoned. One of the NORAD justifications for the loan, was that the factory provided employment for women. The loan is to be paid off in 10 years, at a 1.5 per cent interest rate.
Artikkelen er mer enn to år gammel. Ting kan ha endret seg.
Frionor Thailand has received support from NORAD several times; most recently in 1996, when the company was granted a loan of USD 2 million. The money was used to build a new factory, following the Thai authorities' demand that the old, run-down factory in Bangkok be abandoned. One of the NORAD justifications for the loan, was that the factory provided employment for women. The loan is to be paid off in 10 years, at a 1.5 per cent interest rate.

The loan agreement between Frionor and NORAD has no reference to any environmental aspects of the project.

When Frionor applied for the loan, the application was submitted to the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (NPCA) to have the environmental aspects of the project evaluated. Because of moving offices, NORAD has been unable to find the NPCA evaluation from its archive. However, according to acting head of department for Industrial Co-operation at NORAD, Jan Dag Andersen, the NPCA had no objections to the project.

- Probably the NPCA limited its comments to traditional environmental effects relating to the pisciculture industry, like discharge, waste disposal and the like, Andersen writes to NorWatch.

- However, the loan was granted to Frionor on the condition that the project is run in accordance with the Thai laws and regulations. If its use of raw material from prawn farms should prove to be in violation with such laws, resulting in the company's licence or approval being withdrawn, then NORAD would have reason to cancel the agreement with Frionor, Andersen writes.

However, the thing is that only the breeding of prawns in the interior is prohibited; there is no law against buying prawns from such interior farms, like Frionor is doing. In the NORAD agreement there is a clause obligating Frionor to live up to the ILO conventions number 79, 90 and 138, all regarding child labour. Apart from this, there is no mention of working conditions in the agreement, except for the demand that Thai law be followed.

Norwatch Newsletter 10/99

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