China buys Indian rice for first time in decades amid border tensions
The breakthrough comes at a time when political tensions between the two countries are high because of a border dispute in the Himalayas.
China has started importing Indian rice after a gap of two years and placed orders for shipment of about 5,000 tonnes of non-basmati rice due to competitive prices offered by India compared to other nations, according to the All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA).
India is the world’s major exporter of rice, while China is the biggest importer. In 2006, China was given market access for Indian rice but shipments took place only during the 2017-18 fiscal.
China buying rice from India comes at a time of heightened border tensions between the two nations.
“Although market access was given in 2006, China imported about 974 tonnes of non-basmati rice in 2017-18 fiscal. Now after a gap of two years, we have started receiving enquiries…,” AIREA Executive Director Vinod Kaul told PTI.
Less than 150 tonnes of basmati rice has been exported till October of the 2020-21 fiscal. In last two months, China has placed orders for shipment of about 5,000 tonnes of non-basmati rice called broken rice from south India, he said.
Broken rice is used for making noodles as well as in the wine industry. China has started showing interest in buying rice from India, Kaul said it is because the neighbouring nation is facing tight supply situation amid likely fall in output and trade curbs in the wake of COVID-19 from its other importing destinations like Thailand and Vietnam, he said.
That apart, India is offering competitive prices when compared to other nations in the world at present, he added.
As per the AIREA, India has exported 2.8 million tonnes of basmati rice and 6.1 million tonnes of non-basmati rice during the April-October period of the current fiscal.
In 2019-20 fiscal, total basmati rice exports were at a record 4 million tonnes and non-basmati rice at 5 million tonnes.