Thai gov’t seals cassava export deal with China

Cassava. Inga Spence / Visuals Unlimited / Getty. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BANGKOK, Sep 22, 2019, Bangkok Post. The government has sealed a deal with China to export 18 billion baht worth of cassava (better known to Americans as tapioca) to China by the end of this year, Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said during a visit to China on Saturday, reported the Bangkok Post.

Mr Jurin led a delegation to the 16th China-Asean Expo at Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The cassava export agreement was signed with four major Chinese companies which import both cassava chips and flour to Guangxi, a new market for Thailand’s cassava export industry, Mr Jurin said.

Normally, China imports about 7 million tonnes of cassava roots worth around 20 billion baht every year from Thailand.

However, last year China imported only 3 million tonnes of cassava roots from Thailand, he said, adding Thailand is now urging China to resume previous cassava importation quotas of 2.6 million tonnes of cassava chips and 80,000 tonnes of cassava flour worth 18 billion baht in total.

Talks were also held regarding the implementation of a previous memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed when China agreed to import 2 million tonnes of rice from Thailand, he said.

So far China has imported only 700,000 tonnes of rice, which has left 1.3 million tonnes yet to be exported to fulfil the agreement.

A follow-up discussion was also conducted on another Thai-Chinese MoU on China’s agreement to import 200,000 tonnes of rubber from Thailand, he added.

So far, only 16,800 tonnes of rubber has been exported to China under this agreement. It is not clear why import targets have not been met.

Earlier on Friday, the government resolved to pay a financial compensation of 3,000 baht per rai to cassava growers affected by a disease which has hit at least 4,540 farmers in 11 provinces.

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