Monday, 5 May 2008

Cambodian minister: Rice cartel aims for common price

PHNOM PENH, May 5 (Xinhua) -- An organization of rice exporting countries (OREC) including Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar will aim to set common price for their rice exports for more benefits of their own and the world, national media said on Monday.

Common price of rice will enhance OREC's capability to rice production, provide chance for them to help settle the world food crisis and increase incomes for their farmers, Chinese-language newspaper the Commercial News quoted Cambodian Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Chan Sarun as telling a rural products exhibition in southern province of Takeo on Sunday.

Prime Minister Hun Sen had repeatedly raised the concept of OREC and emphasized the above-mentioned benefits, just before Thailand made a similar initiative at the end of last month, he said.

In addition, he said, common price will help dissolve the chaos on the world's rice market and thus secure the uttermost benefits for all.

"It is high time to establish such an organization," he added.

OREC are now planning to meet as soon as possible to materialize the concept, according to earlier reports.

Meanwhile, the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asia Nations) countries, including OREC themselves, agreed for cooperation to stabilize rice price during a meeting in Indonesia on Sunday.

However, on the same day, the Asia Development Bank officials in Spain clearly opposed establishment of OREC, citing that it contradicted the free spirit of market economy and would bring about disadvantages to both sellers and purchasers.

The rice exports of Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam used to account for some 40 percent of the world's total annual export of rice. If Laos and Myanmar are also included, the percentage will rise over 50 percent.

Rice price has been spiraling since 2008 and high-quality rice currently sells some 1,000 U.S. dollars a ton.

Editor: Sun Yunlong

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