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Vietnam PM approves export of 400,000 metric tons of rice for April after March ban

Saturday, April 11, 2020, 11:21 GMT+7
Vietnam PM approves export of 400,000 metric tons of rice for April after March ban
Workers handle bags of rice using a conveyor belt at a warehouse in Vietnam in this undated photo. Photo: Tran Manh / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam will resume rice shipments from April, the government said in a statement on Friday, after it last month announced a ban on rice exports to make sure the country has sufficient food to cope with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 

According to the statement of the Government Office, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved a plan by the Ministry of Industry and Trade to export 400,000 metric tons of rice in April.

The trade ministry, together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, is responsible for the details and data in the proposal.

At the same time, the Prime Minister assigned the Ministry of Finance to coordinate with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to monitor the amount of rice permitted for export, ensuring strict, public and transparent exporting activities and leaving no room for exploitation of the policy for wrongful purposes.

The ministries have to ensure that the export of rice does not affect national food security, as well as absolutely prevent a shortage of rice under any circumstance.

The ministries must promptly report to the Prime Minister on arising issues beyond their authority, the statement said.

PM Phuc also asked the trade ministry to collaborate with the finance and agriculture ministries to make a report on the country's April rice export and propose May plans by April 25.

In addition, the ministry was also tasked with building a plan for regulating the domestic rice market and rice export in case the COVID-19 pandemic persists until the end of 2020.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance shall coordinate with related agencies in purchasing enough rice reserves for 2020 as approved, and at the same time study adding extra reserves if necessary.

The government on March 24 announced halting new rice export contracts until late May to ensure national food security amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade later asked the government to lift the suspension, arguing that the country still has 800,000 metric tons for export in April and May after accounting for all volumes needed for reserves.

On Monday this week, the trade ministry sent an express dispatch to the PM proposing the rice export resumption, including capping the export volume at 400,000 metric tons for April.

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