Vietnam says no deal with Thailand to raise rice prices

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam’s agriculture minister said on Thursday that the country had not reached an agreement with Thailand to jointly raise rice prices.

The agriculture ministries of the two countries “only carried out general cooperation activities,” Minister Le Minh Hoan said in a statement during a government meeting in Hanoi.

The statement – the first by the Vietnamese government on the matter – comes less than a month after a Thai agricultural official said the two countries had agreed to cooperate to raise the price of rice on the global market.

A Thai government official said on Thursday that the two sides are discussing rising production costs and supply issues, but are not “messing with the market pricing mechanism”.

“We discussed these issues and how to get farmers to get a fair price that reflects real costs,” said Alongkorn Ponlaboot, adviser to Thailand’s minister of agriculture and cooperatives.

The two countries began negotiations in May. A Thai spokesperson then said that the aim was to increase its influence in the global market and increase farmers’ incomes.

Thailand and Vietnam account for about 10% of global raw rice production and about 26% of global exports, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Thai exporters said a price cartel would be unfeasible and would make Thailand and Vietnam uncompetitive.

The Vietnam Food Association said late last month that the country’s rice exports are expected to increase to 6.3 million-6.5 million tonnes this year from 6.24 million tonnes last year, due to strong demand.

(By Khanh Vu; additional reporting by Satawasin Staporncharnchai)

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Vietnam deal Thailand raise rice prices

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