China imports Indian rice for 1st time in 3 decades, say officials


China is reportedly importing rice from India for the first time in at least three decades. The development comes at a time when tension continues to simmer between India and China due to the ongoing border dispute. 

China has started importing rice from India after decades. (Photo: Reuters/Representational image)

China has started importing Indian rice for the first time in at least three decades due to tightening supplies, said Indian officials. The move is also a result of sharply discounted prices offered by India, according to officials who spoke to news agency Reuters.

While India is the world’s biggest exporter of rice, China is the biggest importer. The Reuters report said Beijing imports around four million tonnes of rice annually but avoided purchased from India due to quality issues. However, China has again started importing due to tightened supplies this year.

The development comes at a time when tension continues to simmer between India and China due to the ongoing border dispute.

“For the first time China has made rice purchases,” BV Krishna Rao, president of the Rice Exporters Association, told the news agency. He feels that China may buy more rice “after seeing the quality of Indian crop”.

The report, quoting officials, noted that Indian traders have entered a contract to export 1 lakh tonnes of broker rice for December-February shipments at around $300 per tonne.

China has been forced to buy more from India as its traditional suppliers such as Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Pakistan have limited surplus supplies for exports. Moreover, these countries were quoting at least $30 more in comparison to the prices offered by Indian exporters.

It is worth mentioning that India’s rice exports in the January-October period jumped 43 per cent from a year ago as buyers purchased lower-priced Indian supply to rebuild inventories after rival exporters trimmed shipments due to drought, as per government data.

Higher rice exports from India could help in capping global prices besides reducing the country’s packed inventories. The country’s rice exported in the first 10 months of 2020 was 11.95 million tonnes, higher than 8.34 million tonnes a year ago, suggest data compiled by the commerce and industry ministry.



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