Eighteen local rice export companies are now eligible to carry out milled rice exports to China starting from next month, according to an announcement released on Monday by the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF).
The announcement added that the CRF and the Green Trade Company – under the umbrella of the Commerce Ministry – will play a role in facilitating exports and send the list of qualified local rice mills to China.
“The validity of this export quota of rice takes effect from January to December 2017,” it said.
“After a discussion between the Chinese company COFCO, CRF and Green Trade from December 15 to 17 in Beijing, the three parties agreed to allow the first 18 local rice mills to start fulfilling the export quota as most of these companies have experience exporting rice to China in the past.”
In October, China signed a memorandum of understanding with Cambodia to import rice with an export quota of 200,000 tons per year from the Kingdom.
Earlier this month, a delegation of Chinese experts inspected the quality and safety at 28 rice mills during a week-long visit to Cambodia. All of the rice mills passed quality and food hygiene tests for export to China.
CRF vice president Hun Lak told Khmer Times yesterday that the 18 local rice export companies would begin exporting rice to China next month. The other 10 local rice export companies that passed inspection will proceed with exports later.
Mr. Lak said there was no limit in the amount of rice exports for each company as it is a free market but he could not disclose how many tons would be exported to China in January.
“We start exporting rice to China based on orders and it depends on price negotiations. We do not know the amount of rice to be exported yet,” he said.
Mr. Lak said that the quality, standard and hygiene were accepted by China, but export quantities more or less depended on price as China always compares prices with Cambodia’s neighbors. He added that more rice would be exported if Cambodia can compete with the price offered by Thailand and Vietnam.
Phou Puy, president of the Battambang-based Green Rice Miller, a company that has been exporting rice to China for years, told Khmer Times yesterday that the demand for Cambodian rice from China has been increasing of late.
He said Cambodian rice quality and prices can compete with both Thailand and Vietnam and added that exports to China would increase if the amount, quality and price were acceptable to both parties.
“I did not calculate yet how many tons of rice we export to China, but overall about 60,000 tons of rice have been exported to China, the European Union, Malaysia and Brunei,” Mr. Puy said.
“The price of rice sold to China is between $500 FOB [free on board] per ton to about $620 FOB per ton – it depends on the season and market.”
Amru Rice (Cambodia) president Song Saran told Khmer Times that Amru is new to the Chinese market and most of its exports are to the European Union, but he is optimistic about the new market’s potential. He said Amru exported about 500 tons to 1,000 tons of rice to China this year.
“I really appreciate this new market. Market diversification gives plenty of choices to farmers,” he said.
Cambodia exported about 500,000 tons of rice to the international market in the first 11 months of this year, a five percent increase compared with the same period last year. China alone imported about 107,091 tons.