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Rice export MoU signed

120829_07

Indonesia’s Trade Minister Gita Irawan Wirijawan (L) shakes hands with Cambodia’s Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh following the signing of an MOU yesterday. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

Indonesia’s Trade Minister Gita Irawan Wirijawan (L) shakes hands with Cambodia’s Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh following the signing of an MOU yesterday. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) yesterday to export 100,000 tonnes of rice per year to Indonesia. Senior Cambodian officials hope the MoU will be the impetus for attracting more investments from other ASEAN member states.

The MoU was signed between Cambodia’s Minister of Commerce and Indonesia’s Trade Minister Gita Irawan Wirijawan in Siem Reap yesterday, and comes as Indonesia finds itself in need of imports for the first time since 2008 and 2009 as domestic rice stocks will not meet demand this year, according to Bloomberg.

Cham Prasidh, Cambodia’s Minister of Commerce, said Cambodia’s state-owned Green Trade Company will supply to the Indonesian state-owned firm DULOG as part of the deal.

“We tried to secure an amount that is sizable. If things go smoothly, we can go to a higher level – we’re starting with 100,000 tonnes per year,” he said. “If things go well, we can increase our exports, depending on Cambodia’s supply. If we can supply more than 100,000 tonnes it will be welcomed by Indonesia."

Indonesian Trade Minister Gita Irawan Wirijawan recognised the deal will spur further trade relations and economic ties between the two ASEAN member states.

“This is a good gesture. The MoU, I think, is the first step of many. We’re hopeful that we will be able deepen our relationship with Cambodia soon,” he said.

However, he does not know the exact timeframe for exporting, he said.

“When exactly? We will be looking into the situation, we will work more closely in the coming years — you will see more in the future.”

Cham Prasidh said it will happen at some point this year as domestic companies are preparing to export.

Thon Virak, director of a state-owned-rice exporter Green Trade Company, told the Post previously that under the deal Indonesia has not limited the amount it will import. Green Trade is working with 10 other private domestic companies to meet the supply required by the deal with the price per tonnes between US$460-$470.

Lim Bun Heng, managing director of Loran Import-Export, a local milled rice exporter, confirmed that the company will work with Green Trade, saying that he has already prepared 2,000-3,000 tonnes as a first step.

But, he suggested to Green Trade that Loran would be able to supply them with 100,000 tonnes of rice per year.

Cham Prasidh hopes Cambodia will attract more Indonesian investors for rice milling.

“I believe that more Indonesian companies will come. They will invest in rice processing as they know what quality of rice is needed in Indonesia. When they export to their own country, there will not be any problems.”

To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at kunmakara.may@phnompenhpost.com

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