Commerce Ministry signs rice, tapioca deal with China

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BANGKOK, Nov 20 – Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister/Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan today signed a contract to sell rice and tapioca to representatives of a Chinese state enterprise.

The Chinese representatives are from a state enterprise in Harbin in the northeast province of Heilongjiang. The contract follows an earlier expressed Chinese intention to buy rice from Thailand.

The contract indicates that Thailand is selling 1.2 million tonnes of 5 per cent white rice and broken-milled rice as well as 90,000 tonnes of tapioca. The agricultural commodity is to be delivered to China within December and the prices will be in accordance with world market prices.

After the produce is sold, Commerce Ministry will return the funds to the state coffers.

Mr Niwatthamrong said rice in the government’s stockpiles under the rice pledging scheme has been sold and repaid to Finance Ministry in the amount of Bt140 billion. The Commerce Ministry will return another batch of Bt24 billion to the Finance Ministry next month.

A total of Bt164 billion will be paid this year and the ministry plans to return Bt130 billion next year, at an average Bt12 billion per month, he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commerce Minister Yanyong Puangrat said rice companies, rice mill entrepreneurs, packed-rice traders, rice exporters and rice-processing factories were invited to join the second auction for rice in the government’s stockpiles of over 130,000 tonnes through the Agricultural Futures Exchange of Thailand (AFET) this Monday.

Mr Yanyong said rice auctions will continue to be done through the AFET despite little interest from by entrepreneurs.