By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
THAILAND and China will this evening ink an agreement for the sale of 1 million tonnes of rice.
The signing ceremony will be held at the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok.
The rice contract will be signed between the Foreign Trade Department and China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation, a state agency for oil, rice and foodstuff imports.
Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said yesterday that the details for the export of the new lot of rice would be further negotiated in the near future.
Although it is a government-to-government deal, private exporters will take charge of delivery and price, as China wants only rice from the new crop, not old rice.
For the new rice contract, Thailand is to start the first shipment next year, after the completion of the existing order for 1 million tonnes, she said.
Thailand has shipped 900,000 tonnes under the existing contract, and is scheduled to deliver the rest by the end of this year.
China is one of the largest overseas markets for Thai rice.
According to the Commerce Ministry, the current military-led regime has sold 2.45 million tonnes of rice worth Bt33.4 billion under G2G contracts during the past one and a half years.
Thailand has also proposed to sell rice to other countries on a G2G basis.
Recently, it offered about a million tonnes of rice to Iran. The Iranian government will soon send its officials to inspect paddy fields and rice quality for further negotiations in Thailand.
The ministry will propose its export strategy for next year to the meeting tomorrow of the International Trade Development Committee.
The strategy will focus on promoting the service sector and supporting trade in automobiles and parts, electronics, and jewellery and ornaments.