THE Department of Agriculture (DA) on Monday said Vietnam had resumed its rice exports to the Philippines with about 448,180 metric tons (MT) expected to arrive soon.

“We welcome the decision by Vietnam to resume its rice export policy and taking into account the difficulties faced by various stakeholders during this crisis,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a statement.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd recently furnished the DA a copy of the letter sent by Vietnam Industry and Trade Minister Tran Tuan Anh assuring the Philippines of delivery of 400,000 MT of rice contracted in April.

In his letter, Tran said Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc approved on April 28, 2020 the resumption of rice exports to the Philippines and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) starting May 1, 2020.

From Jan. 1 to May 1, 2020, the Philippines had contracted 666,480 MT of rice from

Vietnam, 218,300 MT of which had been delivered, leaving a balance of 448,180 MT, according to the Agriculture Department’s Bureau of Plant Industry that issues the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance for rice imports.

“Indeed, Vietnam is making a valuable contribution in strengthening Asean cooperation and internal unity. We need to keep the regional market open for trade and ensure the sustainability of the supply chain among Asean member-states, especially for food and other essential goods,” Dar said.

“This means that Vietnamese rice exporters will commence fulfilment of their contracts with Philippine importers and consider future supply deals under an existing bilateral trade agreement,” he added.