Thailand to sell rice, rubber to China

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BANGKOK, Nov 14 – Commerce Minister Gen Chatchai Sarikulya said negotiations at the ministerial level are underway for Thailand to sell 2 million tonnes of rice and 200,000 tonnes of natural rubber to China on a government-to-government basis.

Sales will be made to China’s state enterprise Cofco and delivery will be made in 2015-2016, said Gen Chatchai, adding that sales will be conducted with Cofco only for the purpose of transparency.

Gen Chatchai said the plan to sell rice and rubber to China is being made following requests to Chinese government leaders to buy more agricultural products from Thailand during the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit held in Beijing earlier this week.

Company representatives will arrive in Thailand Wednesday to discuss ways investment in the rubber industry in Thailand, while trade associations will discuss China’s plan to boost its investment in Thailand and enlarging Thai exports there, he said.

Gen Chatchai said he met farmer representatives early today to discuss rice strategy and prices after finding that rice contained high moisture as the rainy season is about to end.

Rice exporters and millers bought rice at prices much below the target, said Gen Chatchai.

Concerned parties will be invited for talks in future in order to solve the problem, he said.

Differing reports on rice in storage is not necessarily a problem, Gen Chatchai said. The Commerce Ministry reported 18 million tonnes stored, while a subcommittee inspecting the former government’s rice-pledging programme said there were 19.2 million tonnes on hand, but Gen Chatchai said the difference probably resulted from inspection at the different times.

The ministry will ask the National Rice Policy Committee to resume sale of warehoused rice without a negative impact on domestic rice prices, he said.