Planned gov’t-to-gov’t rice importation shelved
The country has dropped its plan to import 300,000 metric tons (MT) of rice through a government-to-government (G2G) deal, after the Philippines’ top source of imported rice lifted its export ban, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
In a statement, the DTI yesterday said that its attached agency, the Philippine International Trading Center (PITC), would no longer proceed with the planned G2G importation, which was supposed to arrive in July and August.
PITC was supposed to import 300,000 MT of rice under a G2G arrangement when earlier computations showed that the country’s rice buffer might be at risk because Vietnam had imposed an export ban on rice.
“It will be recalled that the G2G importation plan was a result of the potential threat to maintaining a good buffer stock of rice for the country,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.
“Earlier computations from [the Department of Agriculture] showed a threat to the targeted level of buffer stock following the imposed ban of rice exportation of Vietnam,” he added.
Vietnam, the world’s third largest rice exporter and the largest source of Philippine rice imports, banned rice exports in March and only made limited shipments in April to make sure the country has sufficient food during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Reuters report.
Later, however, Vietnam Industry and Trade Minister Tran Tuan Anh had informed Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III in a letter that rice exports to the Philippines and other countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations would resume on May 1.
Historically, Vietnam accounted for over 90 percent of the Philippines’ rice imports. The country imports about 7 to 14 percent of its total rice requirement, the DTI said.
“With the lifting of the rice export ban of Vietnam, we can expect more comfortable buffer stock levels moving forward,” Lopez said.