First rice export bilateral agreement signed


The National League for Democracy-led government is set to sign its first ever government-to-government (G-to-G) rice export bilateral agreement, according to the commerce ministry. The country is likely to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to export rice to Bangladesh in early September.

MYANMAR is about to export approximately 300,000 tonnes for the next five consecutive years. Detailed negotiations regarding the rate and arrangement will be finalised after the MoU is signed, U Than Myint, Minister of Commerce, said on August 29.

“The MoU is likely to be signed in Nay Pyi Taw following the visit of the Bangladesh commerce minister on September 7-9.

“We roughly agreed to export over one million tonnes of rice to Bangladesh as they are in high demand for Myanmar rice for their increasing consumption demand.

“Bangladesh wants to import in around November but Myanmar has to adjust the quota for Bangladesh in order not to affect the trade agreements with other countries,” he said.

The government has announced that, for the fiscal year 2016-17, it exported two million tonnes of rice. For this fiscal year, it has exported almost 1.5 million tonnes of rice, according to the Ministry of Commerce’s official statistics.

    We need to reduce production costs and logistics costs in order to compete with neighbouring rice exporters such as Thailand and Vietnam. - U Nay Lin Zin, joint secretary-general of MRF

Myanmar has to strike a balance between rice exports and supplying its domestic market. In this fiscal year, if it exports more than 2 million tonnes, it will lead to a price surge domestically.

“Bangladesh wants to start importing in November this year.

“But Myanmar is also exporting to Africa, the EU, Japan and other countries such as Sri Lanka which import rice from Myanmar without G-to-G bilateral agreements.

“Hence, we need to maintain the supply to existing markets while trying to expand into new markets,” U Than Myint said.

Myanmar has been under negotiations with Bangladesh since July regarding an MoU for a government-to -government bilateral agreement, said U Nay Lin Zin, joint secretary-general of Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF).

“We need to reduce production costs and logistics costs in order to compete with neighbouring rice exporters such as Thailand and Vietnam.

“As Myanmar’s rice price depends on the Chinese border market, it would be nice to stabilise the price by diversifying the market,” he said.

U Ye Min Aung, managing director of Myanmar Agribusiness Public Holding and secretary general of the MRF said that the country has further MoUs in the pipeline with Sri Lanka and China. The signing of those MoUs are expected to take place in October.

“Signing MoU is just the framework for fixing the quantity, importing years, fixing the business agencies recommended by the respective commerce ministries.

“China usually signs an MoU every year. This year, China would like to buy around 200,000 tonnes. Sri Lanka is planning to purchase 200,000 tonnes each year but the number of years has not been fixed yet,” he said.


Readers choice: TOP-5 articles of the month by UkrAgroConsult