Confederation of commerce, industry against proposal to restrict low-quality rice imports

By Anh Minh    December 4, 2022 | 11:36 pm PT
Confederation of commerce, industry against proposal to restrict low-quality rice imports
A woman harvests ripened rice in a paddy field at Karunj village in the western state of Maharashtra, India, October 17, 2022. Photo by Reuters
The Vietnam Confederation of Commerce and Industry has criticized a draft decree by the Ministry of Industry and Trade that seeks to limit the import of low-quality rice.

The government fears too much imported low-quality rice, including broken, mainly used to make noodles, cakes, animal feed, beer, and liquor, will potentially affect domestic rice production and food security.

But according to the VCCI, formerly the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the draft does not provide clear criteria for assessing any increase in imports that could affect domestic production, and does not specify what measures are to be taken.

"The application of import restrictions may affect other [sectors], increasing production costs, causing input shortages, and reducing the competitiveness of Vietnamese goods."

It said import management measures, if applied, should consider the needs of businesses that use raw materials for their production.

The volume of low-grade rice imported from India has surged due to low prices and zero import tax under the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area.

Last year Vietnam imported a million tons of rice from various countries, 72% of it from India.

Vietnam, which exports 6-6.5 million tons of mainly high-grade rice annually to 156 countries and territories, imported only around 5,000 tons of Indian rice in 2019, according to the ministry.

Pham Thai Binh, general director of Trung An Hi-tech Farming Joint Stock Company, told VnExpress: "Instead of importing low-quality rice, enterprises can buy rice in the domestic market, helping increase selling prices and farmers increase their income."

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