Saturday, 17 December 2011 19:28
HANOI: Deferred payments of up to one-and-a-half years have been key to
keeping Cuba among Vietnam's largest rice buyers in recent years, a
Vietnamese state-run newspaper reported on Saturday.
Vietnam allows Cuba to pay for its rice imports from between 360 days
and 540 days late, making the Southeast Asian nation Cuba's top rice
supplier, officials were cited by the Vietnam Economic Times newspaper
as saying at a government meeting on Friday.
The cash-strapped Cuban government has embarked on a programme to cut
import costs by increasing food production and it hopes to slash imports
of the staples rice, beans and powdered milk by 50 percent by 2013.
But the island imported 404,000 tonnes of Vietnamese rice between
January and October this year, up 16 percent from a year ago, while the
import value jumped 44.6 percent to $215.8 million, Vietnam's
Agriculture Ministry data show.
Cuba has been the third-largest buyer of Vietnamese rice after Indonesia
and the Philippines this year. In 2010, it bought 472,300 tonnes of
Vietnamese rice, up 5 percent from the previous year, according to
Vietnamese customs data.
The world's second-largest rice exporter after Thailand plans to ship
between 6.5 million tonnes and 7 million tonnes of the grain in 2012,
below a record shipment of 7.2 million tonnes expected this year.