Cambodia seeks direct rice exports to PH

Cambodia, which exports half of its rice production to Vietnam, is seeking to export directly its surplus harvest to the Philippines, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Newly confirmed DTI Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual met today, Feb. 2, with high-level Cambodian delegation led by Secretary of State Kim Chan Sokty of the Royal Government of Cambodia in charge as CEO of state-owned Green Trade Co. and Okhna Chan Sokheang, president of Cambodia Rice Federation.

If ever the Cambodia rice deal will be pursued, Pascual said the importation arrangement can be done between the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC) and its Cambodian counterpart Green Trade Co.

He said that a direct government to government transaction could mean cheaper cost in rice imports for the Philippines.

DTI Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo also shared that the delegation conveyed that they have been selling three million tons surplus rice to Vietnam, which in turn reexports part of that Cambodian rice to the Philippines. Vietnam is now the biggest exporter of rice to the Philippines.

This time, Rodolfo said, Cambodia would like to have a steady market by directly exporting to the Philippines through PITC. A government to government arrangement is also being considered by the Cambodian delegation in light of the fact that the Philippines has already liberalized rice importation by replacing it with 35 percent tariff.

THE Philippines imported 3.79 million metric tons (MMT) of rice in 2022, according to the Bureau of Plant Industry. The figure was 37 percent higher than the 2.77 MMT recorded in 2021. Imports as of Dec. 29, 2022 totaled 3,791,878 MT, 83 percent of which or 3.16 MMT came from Vietnam.

In addition, Cambodia’s rice exports are geared for the EU markets. Thus, they are conducting a market survey in the Philippines to further diversify their exports market. They are also producing different varieties of rice, including the high-quality rice.

Pascual said the DTI was the first stop of the Cambodian delegation’s mission in the Philippines on the ASEAN country’s efforts for the export potential of rice as half of its annual production is already surplus.

“They just requested to call on me,” he said.

“They want to export here because their rice seeds were sourced from the Philippines 20 years ago,” said Pascual. Manila Bulletin