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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Philippines cancels multinational rice purchases including from Vietnam

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CAN THO – The Government of the Philippines has abandoned its plan to import up to 300,000 tons of rice from various countries including Vietnam.

The country had planned to import rice from Vietnam, India, Thailand and Myanmar under government-to-government contracts due to the apparent insufficient local inventory in the rainy season. It also reflected the government’s reaction to Vietnam’s announcement to stop rice exports in April.

The Philippine International Trading Corp under the Department of Trade and Industry issued a tender to import 25% broken, well-milled long-grain white rice on June 8.

“The decision for the government-to-government import plan was a result of the potential threat to maintaining a good buffer supply of rice for the country. Earlier, computations showed a threat to the targeted level of buffer stock following the imposed ban on rice exports of Vietnam in April,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a statement.

However, the Government of the Philippines has abandoned the plan, as it is no longer necessary under the current situation. Lopez said this was based on Vietnam’s decision to lift its rice export ban, following which the Philippines can expect “more comfortable buffer stock levels moving forward”.

“The potential tightness in domestic supply has been properly addressed with the lifting of the rice export ban by Vietnam and the arrival of some 1.3 million tons of rice imports as of the third week of June,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar explained.

The Philippines is the world’s biggest buyer of rice, while Vietnam is a major supplier, accounting for over 90% of the Philippines’ rice imports. Vietnam resumed its rice exports from May after a short suspension to assess its local supply during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Data of the General Department of Vietnam Customs indicated that Vietnam exported more than three million tons of rice from January to May, earning US$1.5 billion, up 12% in volume and 26.6% in value year-on-year. The country exported over 1.3 million tons of rice worth US$598 million to the Philippines, up 22.4% in volume and 41.1% in value compared with the same period last year.

By Trung Chanh

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