BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thailand and Vietnam have agreed to cooperate in raising the price of rice in the global market, a Thai agricultural official said on Monday (Aug 29), following months of talks aimed in part at improving rural incomes.
"This is ... the first time Thailand and Vietnam ... have agreed to cooperate in lifting the price of rice in the global market," Alongkorn Ponlaboot, adviser to Thailand's agriculture and cooperatives minister, said in a statement after a fresh round of talks with Vietnamese officials.
Thailand and Vietnam began the talks in May. A Thai spokesman said then that the objective was to raise the price of their rice exports, increase their leverage in the global market and boost farmers' incomes.
The two countries account for around 10 per cent of global production of rough rice and about 26 per cent of global exports, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
It was not immediately clear when any price hikes would take effect.
Alongkorn said a summary of the latest round of talks and the recommendation to jointly raise prices would be presented to the agriculture ministers of both countries at an unspecified date.
"Will the goal be accomplished or not? I can't answer. But today we have taken our first steps together as strategic partners in agriculture," Alongkorn said.
The Vietnam Food Association and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for comment.