Merit in rice trade plan | Bangkok Post: opinion

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Merit in rice trade plan

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The cabinet on Tuesday approved a proposal allowing the Commerce Ministry to form a rice trade partnership with Asean's four other rice-producing countries, namely Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, to stabilise rice prices in the global market and to promote food security in the region. 

The plan involves the creation of a rice trade zone (RTZ) in Asean which is slated to be first implemented between Thailand and Cambodia with Cambodian paddy imported into Thailand, milled and then exported by Thailand on behalf of Cambodia.

The idea of a cartel of rice-producing countries in the Asean region was floated many years ago by Thailand, the world's number one rice exporter for several years until this year when the top ranking was captured by India. Back then, it hoped to make use of its dominant market position to influence prices in the global market.

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