The Philippines will consider buying rice from any foreign rice suppliers, including Thailand, under agreements with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), an official from the National Food Authority (NFA) has said.

NFA spokesperson Rex Estoperez said the rice supply agreement between Manila and Bangkok expired last year, so if Thailand wants to export rice to the Philippines, the agreement must be renewed.

Previously, Thailand proposed to sell rice at a great loss to support Thai farmers who participated in their Government’s rice pledging scheme.

In November last year, the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) won a contract to supply 500,000 tonnes of rice at 462.25 USD per tonne to the Philippines, while Thailand’s price is 475 USD per tonne.

Estoperez said that Thailand has since offered rice to the Philippines at 462 USD per tonne, 25 cents less than Vietnam, but the Philippines rejected the offer as it cannot violate WTO and ASEAN rules.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Orga nisation (FAO) has forecast that the Philippines’ rice import will rise 20 percent to 1.2 million tonnes this year due to damage caused by super typhoon Haiyan in November last year.-VNA