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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                    6  August 2011

Indonesia may export rice to South Korea

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Indonesia may export 50,000 tons of premium quality rice to South Korea, the chief economics minister said on Wednesday, making it the first shipment of the grain to the country if the deal goes through.

Indonesia’s agriculture ministry added that an export license had been granted to suppliers in South Sulawesi.

The South Sulawesi governor had requested permission to export 200,000 tons of premium rice to South Korea, but the Indonesian government would only consider 50,000 tons as a first step, said Hatta Rajasa, the coordinating minister for the economy.

“By giving an export permit for premium rice, we also want to show the world that Indonesia has a potential to supply rice to the world market, because we are also dreaming of feeding the world,” Hatta said.

Indonesia normally buys rather than exports rice, though occasionally it exports high quality or organic rice. If the shipments go ahead, it would be the first time the country has exported premium rice to South Korea, an official at the Trade Ministry said.

“This is the first step and we will issue the permits gradually while we are evaluating the export realization and stock condition,” Agriculture Minister Suswono said. The permit was granted, he said, because Indonesians do not consume much premium rice and prefer medium-grade rice.

“That’s why we are assuming that there is an excessive stock of premium rice in South Sulawesi,” he said.

The move to export premium rice comes even as Indonesia will start receiving imports of 500,000 tons of Vietnamese rice this month, to fill up stocks during the festive season.

Last week, the head of the state procurement agency, Bulog, said Indonesia was also in talks with Thailand over further imports.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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