Yanyong Phuangrach, the commerce permanent secretary, said the ministry and the private sector, led by rice millers, have discussed with Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos the creation of a cooperative framework for rice trading.
The five countries combined produce 30-40 million tons of rice a year, sufficient to supply the global market, said Mr. Yanyong.
The cooperation would also help boost rice prices in ASEAN countries and increase income for farmers.
Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom today will lead a delegation to the first joint trade committee meeting between Thailand and Vietnam in Hanoi.
Rice cooperation will be on the table.
Both countries want to see the rice price stabilize in the global market, where fragrant price now costs US$1,000 a ton and white rice $550-600 a ton.
The hope is cooperation will help to raise prices and attract farmers' offspring in the region to the career.
Mr. Yanyong said that while Thailand exported just 3.5 million tons of rice in the first half as prices rose, the ministry is still confident of exporting 8-9 million tons for the full year.
Statistics from the Thai Rice Exporters Association showed Thailand shipped 3.53 million tons of rice as of July 5, down 45.5% year-on-year.
Mr. Boonsong said that Thailand and Vietnam will review bilateral trade and investment in order to reduce obstacles and aid business expansion.
Vietnam is Thailand's No.4 trade partner in ASEAN after Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Bilateral trade was worth $9.09 billion last year, with Thailand exporting $7.06 billion.
Thailand is the third-biggest ASEAN investor in Vietnam after Malaysia and Singapore. Investments have been made in sectors such as tourism, restaurants, agriculture, plastics and car parts.
Source: The Bangkok Post