Vietnam is hoping to ship 3 million tonnes of rice, under a freshly reached agreement on extending rice exports, to the Philippines for another two years up to December 31, 2018.Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam are currently allowed to export rice to the Philippines through government-to-governmentbidding method. Under the agreement, the Southern Food Corporation and the Northern Food Corporation remain the major exporters and the first bidding is set for January this year. During the 2011-2016 periods, the Philippines bought 500,000 to 1.5 million tonnes of Vietnamese rice, accounting for 17 to 24 percent of the Southeast Asian nation’s total rice export value.
In the background of fierce competition from both traditional and new rivals like Thailand, India, Pakistan, Cambodia and Myanmar, the export extension is seen as the better way for Vietnam to bolster exports and improve its global rice brand name.The Philippines was widely expected to cut back on imports of the staple grain, but it has recently let Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam back in the bidding process. Vietnamese exporters will of course have to beat out these neighboring rivals first. Meanwhile, Thailand plans to clear its stockpiles, estimated at around 9 million tons, by the end of 2017. Laos is also finding ways to boost sales to China, Vietnam’s largest rice buyer.