New rules in Chinese market worry rice exporters

Vietnamnet | Wed, Jul 6, 2016 10:40:15 AM Share this on

While government officials and experts believe that the protocol on phytosanitary requirements on Vietnamese rice exports to China is beneficial, rice exporters say the requirements are too strict.

The protocol says that all consignments of rice exports from Vietnam to China must satisfy phytosanitary requirements and must not contain nine harmful biological substances.

Vietnamese enterprises must register to export rice to China. Before the rice is exported, Chinese agencies will examine rice growing areas and enterprises’ rice storehouses. Rice will only be exported when the Chinese side agrees on the exports.

Nguyen Van Don, director Viet Hung Company, said rice exporters have the right to choose sterilizers among the nine sterilization units approved by China. There has been only one such unit.

“This allows enterprises to take a higher initiative in their export activities and save time for sterilization,” he said.

Also according to Don, in the past, the sterilization process was only carried out in China. But with the protocol, rice will be sterilized before shipments, thus reducing risks for rice exporters.

Secretary general of the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) Huynh Minh Hue thinks that the new regulation will create favorable conditions to boost rice exports to China through the official channel.

However, rice exporters have been warned that they will bear very strict requirements in the protocol.

“If just one pest is found in a 60-ton rice consignment, the whole consignment may be declared infected,” said Hoang Trung from the Plant Protection Agency.

Nguyen Thanh Long, director of Gao Viet, also thinks the protocol would put pressure on Vietnam’s rice exporters. 

If they violate the regulations, they may be prohibited to export rice to the Chinese market, and if one enterprise violates regulations, others may see their business affected.

Meanwhile, the representative of a rice export company commented that the protocol sets up a technical barrier for the import country to hold the upper hand when controlling imports from Vietnam. 

If the import country doesn’t want to import rice, it would just need to tighten requirements.

“The import country has many rights, while Vietnamese enterprises are in a passive role,” he commented.

He said Vietnamese agencies need to negotiate with Chinese agencies on solutions to ensure benefits for both sides.

He doesn’t think the protocol will help boost exports to China, saying that Vietnamese rice exporters should ease reliance on China as the biggest export market.

Source: Vietnamnet