Exploring Collective Food Security in Asia
- NUS Centre for International Law series
Edited by Michael Ewing-Chow and Melanie Vilarasau Slade
Chapter 6: Deepening ASEAN rice trade
The ASEAN region is important in the global rice market, particularly because the region includes the largest rice exporting and importing countries of the world. In 2011, about half of global rice exports came from the region. The share may increase further with possible gains in productivity and competitiveness of the rice industries of Myanmar and Cambodia. On the other hand, Indonesia and the Philippines are among the largest rice importers, claiming on average two-thirds of rice imports of ASEAN member states. However, both countries actively pursue becoming fully self-sufficient in rice, investing to expand production and restricting imports to increase local prices to encourage production. The dynamics of rice trading in ASEAN may explain to a great extent why rice trade in the world remains thin, at about 5.9 percent of output in 2011. In the Philippines, the government-owned National Food Authority (NFA) monopolizes rice imports, keeping the volume of rice imports within limits. Indonesia licenses rice imports to control the quantity of rice that comes in. In normal situations, local production may meet local rice demand as influenced by local prices, which in turn are high relative to world prices due to import restrictions. The major rice importing countries up their rice imports substantially in times of extreme climatic situations, when their local rice outputs fall short of expected utilization requirements, or when they perceive a tightening of global rice supply as in 2008.
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