Vietnam: No agreement with Thailand on rice prices

Vietnam: No agreement with Thailand on rice prices

HANOI: Vietnam said on Thursday it had no deal with Thailand to jointly raise rice prices.

The countries' agriculture ministries "have only conducted general cooperation activities", agriculture minister Le Minh Hoan said during a government meeting in Hanoi.

His remarks -- the Vietnamese government's first on the issue -- come less than a month since a Thai agricultural official said the countries had agreed to cooperate in raising the price of rice in the global market.

The countries began talks in May. A Thai spokesman said the objective of raising prices jointly was to increase their leverage in the global market and boost farmers' incomes.

Thailand and Vietnam account for about 10% of global production of rough rice and about 26% of global exports, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Thai exporters have said a price cartel would be unfeasible and would make Thailand and Vietnam uncompetitive.

Vietnam Food Association said late last month the country's rice exports are expected to rise to 6.3-6.5 million tonnes this year from 6.24 million tonnes last year. REUTERS

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