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53 thousand tonnes of rice still bound, despite PM’s instruction   2009-04-21 - VietNamNet/TT

On April 19 in the afternoon, the 53,500 tonnes of rice the Kien Giang Tourism and Trade Company plans to deliver to South African and East Timor partners was still in stock, despite the instruction by the prime minister on allowing the company to export the rice.


Rice exporter threatens to ask PM to help ‘rescue’ rice


Nguyen Hung Linh, General Director of Kien Giang Tourism and Trade Company, on April 19 in the afternoon told local newspaper Tuoi tre that 17 ships had docked at Vietnamese ports to pick up the rice. However, seven of them have left Vietnam because they could not wait any longer. Other ships are still waiting impatiently at Saigon port and My Thoi port in An Giang province, and are also likely to leave Vietnam in some days.


Tuoi tre newspaper has reported that its reporters many times tried to contact the leaders of the Vietnam Food Association to ask about the case, but they have not been able to contact any one.


The story began one month ago, according to Linh. The Kien Giang Tourism and Trade Company signed contracts with partners on exporting 53,500 tonnes of rice to Africa and East Timor. The clients are Win Agro Pte Ltd (10,625 tonnes), Grain Mineral Resources Pte Ltd (40,000 tonnes) and Wee Tiong (S) Pte Ltd (2,875 tonnes).


The partners opened L/C and brought their ships to ports in HCM City and My Thoi port in An Giang province to get deliveries. However, to date, the Vietnamese exporter still cannot deliver the rice.


“As the deadline for delivery is in April 2009, over the last one month, we sent a lot of documents to the Vietnam Food Association and relevant ministries, petitioning for measures to clear the 53,500 tonnes of rice which is stuck, but things have not improved,” Linh said.


The problem lies in the fact that the Vietnam Food Association asked the company to not export the volume of rice. The association on February 20, 2009 released a document saying that the association only accepted registrations for rice export contracts which had deliveries from July to September 2009. Meanwhile, the contracts the Kien Giang signed with the foreign partners were made before the document was released. The total volume of rice the company has signed contract to export is 130,000 tonnes.


Truong Quoc Tuan, Secretary of the Kien Giang provincial Party Committee, the locality where the Kien Giang Tourism and Trade Company is located, had to fly to Hanoi to report the case directly to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.


The prime minister then ordered the Vietnam Food Association to allow the company to export the 53,500 tonnes of rice.


The association then released a document on April 16, agreeing to the export of the 53,500 tonnes of rice.


However, the case has not been settled yet. The dispatch of the association which agrees on the exports, stipulates that the Kien Giang Tourism and Trade Company has to share 30% of the contracted rice export volume with rice export companies in rice production provinces. The company is allowed to export rice if it commits to load commodities at Saigon port in HCM City and not to unload commodities in the ports of Malaysia, in order to avoid competition which may badly affect other companies.


On April 17, the Kien Giang Tourism and Trade Company stated that the Vietnam Food Association was still creating difficulties for the company and it still could not export rice.


Linh said that his company signed the rice export contract with the Singaporean partners on FOB price, which means that the company does not have the right to interfere in ship chartering and other logistics works to be conducted by the foreign partner.


“We cannot meet the requirements stipulated by the Vietnam Food Association,” Linh said.


Linh also said that his company cannot share the 30% of the contracted volume with other enterprises as the company has collected rice from farmers (it now still has 10,000 tonnes in stock) and made packages for the deliveries.

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