China yet to give okay to eight rice traders
China has yet to respond to a request made by the Ministry of Agriculture to add another eight local rice traders to the list of 26 that have passed quality control tests to export rice to the Chinese mainland.
“Eight local rice traders are still waiting to be evaluated by China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine [AQSIQ] despite two requests made directly to Beijing by the Ministry,” said Hean Vanhan, director-general of the general directorate of agriculture in the Ministry of Agriculture.
Mr. Vanhan told Khmer Times that AQSIQ was probably delaying the evaluation because the eight traders did not have their own rice mills.
“From our perspective we want more traders to export rice to China so that our rice exports are boosted,” he added.
Mr. Vanhan said the eight rice traders have been advised to sign contracts with the 26 other traders that have rice mills, so that they can qualify to export to China.
AQSIQ is a ministerial-level department under the State Council of China that is in charge of national quality, entry-exit commodity inspection, entry-exit health quarantine, entry-exit animal and plant quarantine, import-export food safety, certification and accreditation, standardization, as well as administrative law enforcement.
Last December, China asked Cambodia to evaluate its rice exporters to determine whether they adhered to the hygiene laws in China, because officials in the world’s second largest economy did not trust all of the 71 rice exporters registered with the Ministry of Commerce.
“All of the rice millers they have checked are of high enough quality to meet their requirement. Therefore only those rice millers are allowed to export rice to China,” Mr. Vanhan said.
China is one of Cambodia’s big markets for milled rice.
In September, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen at the sidelines of the Asean Summit in Laos, pledged to double China’s annual purchase of 100,000 metric tons of Cambodian rice to 200,000 metric tons, starting this year. China also pledged a loan of $300 million to Cambodia’s rice millers for building warehouses with drying facilities.
China also gave assurances that it will grant greater access for Cambodia’s agricultural products to enter its markets.
Song Saran, president and CEO of AMRU Rice (Cambodia), said on Facebook that he welcomed the ministry’s move to push for larger rice exports to China.
However he expressed concern that rice traders who did not have their own mills wanted to piggy-back on those traders who already passed AQSIQ quality tests.
“The Ministry of Agriculture will have a headache if this keeps happening,” he said.
China is the biggest single-country market for Cambodia’s milled rice, and imported about 67,000 metric tons in the first quarter.
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