Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Myanmar, KWND Karunaratne, made a bid on January 23, during a visit to U Than Myint, the Union Minister for Commerce, the assistant secretary said.
“[Sri Lanka] wants to buy rice from us, and they want to do it [through the agreement] between governments,” said U Khin Maung Lwin, adding that the discussion will now turn to issues such as quality and price.
“We were told the ambassador, to answer these questions as soon as possible,” he said. After both parties have agreed on import conditions, a formal agreement may be signed, he added.
Myanmar has exported rice to Sri Lanka in the past, but only in small quantities and without any agreement at the government level.
Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF), which is a rice industry private sector associations and traders tend to be involved in any of the agreements, Myanmar Government’s more rice export. Vice president of MRF U Soe Tun said that MRF is ready to facilitate the export of rice, according to Sri Lankan demand, but so far there has been no discussion on price.
Possible deals with other countries in the region have fallen through Myanmar because it was unable to match the prices of other rice exporters such as Vietnam.
The Commerce Ministry of Trade Promotion team will manage the logistics of any rice export in Sri Lanka.
Prior to this, Myanmar traders have exported rice to Sri Lanka, but export volumes were very small and were made among export traders.
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U Soe Tun said that MRF is responsible for registering the export price for Myanmar rice, and that shipboard cargo prices are now ranging from $ 300 to $ 400 US, depending on quality.
Data from the Ministry of Commerce show that trade between Myanmar and Sri Lanka fluctuated between $ 800,000 and $ 1.1 million between 2011-12 and 2013-14 fiscal years. The volume of operations amounted to $ 4.1 million in 2014-15, and declined to $3 million in 2015-16.
As of the end of November 2016, trade for fiscal year 2016-17 was $ 3.5 million.