(Eagle News) — Starting this month, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam decided to resume rice exports to the Philippines and other members of ASEAN to help countries needing additional rice supplies amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said this was a very welcome development. The Department of Agriculture said this would enable the region to maintain adequate food supply and cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We welcome the decision by Vietnam to resume its rice export policy and taking into account the difficulties faced by various stakeholders during this crisis,” said Agriculture Secretary Dar.
He thanked Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, who furnished him a copy of a letter by Vietnam Industry and Trade Minister Tran Tuan Anh, dated 4 May 2020, assuring the Philippines of delivery of 400,000 metric tons (MT) of rice contracted in April.
In his letter, Minister Tran said that on April 28, 2020, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc approved the resumption of rice exports to the Philippines and other ASEAN countries, starting on May 1, 2020.
“I hope the new decision by our Prime Minister will contribute to the joint efforts by ASEAN Member States in maintaining adequate food supply to ASEAN Community to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen ASEAN’s internal unity,” Minister Tran said.
-Vietnam’s contribution to help ASEAN amid COVID-19 pandemic-
Dar described this as Vietnam’s to ASEAN amid this virus crisis.
“Indeed, Vietnam is making a valuable contribution in strengthening ASEAN cooperation and internal unity. We need to keep the regional market open for trade and ensure the sustainability of the supply chain among ASEAN member-states, especially for food and other essential goods.”
From January 1 to May 1, 2020, the Philippines has contracted 666,480 MT of rice from Vietnam, of which 218,300 MT has been delivered, leaving a balance of 448,180 MT, according to the DA’s Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) that issues the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance (SPSIC) for rice imports, the DA said.
“This means that Vietnamese rice exporters will commence fulfillment of their contracts with Philippine importers, and consider future supply deals under an existing bilateral trade agreement,” Dar noted.
Since January 2020, the DA-BPI has issued SPSICs covering 2.7 million MT, of which about 729,000 MT has arrived, with 1.189 million MT to be delivered this month and the rest in succeeding months.
The agriculture department has repeatedly assured the public that there is adequate rice supply in the entire country for the entire year, and that there will even by a year-end inventory of 3.326 million metric tons (MMT). This “comfortable level of inventory” is good for 94 days for next year’s supply.