Philippines cancels Myanmar rice consignment amid local protests

A rice export agreement between Myanmar and the Philippines has fallen through after the latter came under pressure from local farmers, according to
Myanmar Rice Traders Association (MRTA).The Philippines had agreed to two consignments of 75,000 tonnes of rice produced in Myanmar earlier this year.
“We won the tender about two months ago. However, the Philippines cancelled the consignment without any official reason. Apparently it is because of protests staged by their farmers, so the permit wasn’t granted,” said U Aung Myint, secretary of the MRTA. He added that consignments, which had been negotiated at the governmen level, consisted of orders from private companies in the Philippines.

Last year, Myanmar exported 150,000 tonnes of rice to the Philippines for the first time.
Myanmar had previously participated in a bid to export 50,000 tonnes of rice to the Philippines in 2017, but lost out to Vietnam. This year’s tender was offered to Myanmar, Thailand, India and Vietnam.The development is taking place after the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China gave permission to 43 Myanmar companies to export rice to China on July 10. After months of trade delays and restrictions at the Myanmar-China border due to COVID-19, the companies, which will have to register for permits to export rice to China, were given permission to do so without limitations, the MRTA said.
“The companies can export as much as they want according to demand from Chinese traders,” said U Aung Myint.

“The Ministry of Commerce will issue the licenses together with pest clearance certificates when the companies permitted by China come to register. An official letter has been released and we are working on some documents. The procedures will be finalised this month,” he said.
Myanmar has yet to meet its 2.4 million-tonne rice export forecast in fiscal 2019-20 due to falling demand. Currently, just 2 million tonnes of rice has been exported and it is expected that the remaining 400,000 tonnes of rice will be exported from July to September, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation.
As at July 17, Myanmar’s 2019-20 trade deficit had widened to more than US$1.7 billion from US$718 million registered in the previous corresponding period in
2018-19, according to the Ministry of Commerce. – Translated

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Source : Myanmar Times

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