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Bangladesh rice agreement is still ‘valid’

Sok Chan and Sum Manet / Khmer Times Share:
Cambodia and Bangladesh signed an MoU on rice in August. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Commerce Ministry officials and members of the private sector will fly to Bangladesh next month to discuss a new purchasing agreement for milled rice, after Bangladesh recently cancelled an order of the commodity.

The purchasing agreements for Cambodian milled rice are part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in August between Bangladesh and Cambodia, according to which the kingdom is to sell about one million tonnes of rice in the five years leading up to 2022.

Ministry of Commerce (MoC) spokesman Long Kem Vichet told Khmer Times yesterday that both countries are now negotiating a new rice deal based on the MoU.

“After running into some stumbling blocks, the negotiations for the rice deal have not concluded yet,” he said.

“The MoU we signed with Bangladesh is still valid, so we are still sending rice to Bangladesh, but we are now negotiating a new purchasing agreement.

“In December, we will go to Bangladesh again to discuss the details of the deal.”

Reuters has reported that Bangladesh terminated the deal with Cambodia to import 250,000 tonnes of white rice due to a delay in the shipment.

Badrul Hasan, the head of Bangladesh’s state grain buyer, said the deal was cancelled after Cambodia failed to supply the rice on time.

Hun Lak, the vice-president of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), said the deal was cancelled because Bangladesh has high requirements about the way the export process is conducted.

“Their requirements are difficult for us to meet because we ship ‘Free On Board’ (FOB), using a delivery schedule and payment method that is convenient for us,” Mr Lak said.

Mr Vichet reiterated that the MoU was still in place and that Cambodia will supply rice to the South Asian nation once details of the new purchasing agreement are worked out.

Bangladesh, the world’s fourth-biggest rice producer, has emerged as a major importer of the grain this year after flash floods in April hit domestic output. As a result, the country is facing dwindling stocks and high local prices.

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