Thailand will negotiate with the Philippines to expand its import quota for Thai rice and set transparent bidding as the Philippines pushes to set a quota for its rice imports until 2017.
Srirat Rastapana, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, said the Philippines wanted to extend its rice import quota by another five years. It has set a quota of 380,000 tonnes since 2003, with 98,000 tonnes from Thailand, 25,000 tonnes from China and 15,000 tonnes from Australia.
Thailand wants the Philippines to have a transparent import administration allowing market access, as in the past the Philippines applied a bidding system that awarded most bids to Vietnam.
Thailand is the second largest supplier of rice to the Philippines after Vietnam.
Thailand is also negotiating with the Philippines under the Asean framework to maintain its import of Thai rice at 367,000 tonnes through the signing of a memorandum of understanding. If external factors cripple the Philippines ability to maintain such a level, it is excused from the agreement.
This is in exchange for the Philippines extending its delay in reducing import tariffs on rice to 35 percent to 2015, down from the current 40 percent. The impetus for the delay is the country wants its farmers to be ready to produce rice at competitive prices to imported rice.
The Philippines has a cultivation area of 27.8 million rai, with 10.5 million tonnes of rice production last year. Its estimated consumption for 2012 is 13.4 million tonnes.