Philippines temporarily limits rice imports from Vietnam

November 24, 2021 - 9:14 PM
A volunteer operates a crate lifter to carry sacks of rice for victims of Super Typhoon Mangkhut at the Department of Social Welfare and Development, National Relief Operations Center in Pasay City, Metro Manila, in Philippines, September 17, 2018. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

HANOI — The Philippines, one of the world’s biggest importers of rice, is taking steps to temporarily limit imports of the grain from Vietnam amid a big harvest at home, three rice traders and an agricultural official said on Wednesday.

The traders said that the Philippines‘ department of agriculture had suspended issuing sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance for rice shipments from Vietnam.

The Philippines is Vietnam’s largest rice export market, accounting for 40% of its total rice shipments.

A spokesperson for the Philippines agriculture department confirmed that it was managing the issuance of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance (SPSIC) in accordance with demand.

“We import only what we need, and that we have enough supply at the moment, given the bumper wet season harvest,” the spokesperson said in a response to a query from Reuters.

The Vietnam Food Association, whose members are the country’s rice exporters, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Vietnam’s rice shipments to the Philippines in the first 10 months of this year rose 12.3% from a year earlier to 2.09 million tons, according to government customs data. —Additional reporting by neil Jerome Morales in Manila; Editing by Martin Petty