December 4, 2020: Amid the seven-month-long standoff between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, China, for the first time in at least three decades, started importing rice from the Indian market. The development comes amid strained supplies in China while India was exporting at a very discounted price.
“For the first time, China has made rice purchases. They may increase buying next year after seeing the quality of Indian crop,” said BV Krishna Rao, president of the Rice Exporters Association, as quoted by Reuters.
Chinese traders have asked to export at least 100,000 tonnes of broken non-basmati rice for shipments between December to February at a cost of $300 per tonne, the cheapest in the global market.
Notably, China is the world’s biggest importer of rice while India is the largest exporter. However, Beijing has previously avoided Indian rice citing quality issues.
China’s traditional suppliers – Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Pakistan – raised their prices owing to limited surplus supplies for export. These countries were quoting at least $30 per tonne more than the Indian prices, according to rice trade officials.
Notably, one of the very few economic gains for India amid the coronavirus pandemic has been the exponential growth in the demand for rice exports, up by 70 per cent to nearly 7.5 million tonnes in the first six months of the financial year.