Philippines temporarily limits rice imports from Vietnam

HANOI (CNA) – The Philippines, one of the world’s biggest importers of rice, is taking steps to temporarily limit imports of the grain from Vietnam amid a big harvest at home, three rice traders and an agricultural official said yesterday.

The traders said that the Philippines’ department of agriculture had suspended issuing sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance for rice shipments from Vietnam.

The Philippines is Vietnam’s largest rice export market, accounting for 40 per cent of its total rice shipments.

A spokesperson for the Philippines agriculture department confirmed that it was managing the issuance of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance (SPSIC) in accordance with demand.

“We import only what we need, and that we have enough supply at the moment, given the bumper wet season harvest,” the spokesperson said in a response to a query from media.

The Vietnam Food Association, whose members are the country’s rice exporters, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Vietnam’s rice shipments to the Philippines in the first 10 months of this year rose 12.3 per cent from a year earlier to 2.09 million tonnes, according to government customs data.

Workers unload imported rice in Manila. PHOTO: AP