Govt allows foreign companies to export rice, other commodities

The Ministry of Commerce (MOC) will now allow foreign and joint venture companies to export specific food and commodity items, according to Notification 24/2019 released on June 6.

Foreign companies with recommendations from relevant ministries can buy the commodities from local producers will be issued licenses to export the goods.

The aim is to raise the quality of Myanmar exports and boost international demand for local goods as well as to raise earnings for domestic producers.

The MOC allowed a total of seven items including rice, meat and fish, value-added crops, pulp and paper, seeds, refined metals, semi-finished or finished fruit products and wood based furniture.

Notably, foreign companies in Myanmar will be allowed to export value-added rice and broken rice as well as beans, pulses and corn.

Competition is likely to become more intense for local producers as foreign companies come with larger capital pools and marketing networks, said U Than Oo, secretary of Bayintnaung Rice Commodity Market in Yangon.

“On the other hand, there will be more buyers in the market, which is good for farmers and producers. The government’s move will attract foreign investments in the agriculture sector, which is important for growth and export quality,” he said.

Myanmar exported 1.5 million tonnes of rice worth U$470 million between October 2018 and May 2019. A third of the rice is exported to China at the border while the EU and Africa account for about 45pc of exports, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation.

Recently, the Myanmar Investment Commission permitted Singapore-listed Wilmar International to form a local joint venture – Wilmar Myanmar Riceland Ltd – to produce, sell and distribute rice and rice-related products including rice, rice flour, rice bran, rice bran oil and rice husks at the Thilawa port in Yangon.

Source: Myanmar Times

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