China has canceled a deal to buy 1.2 million tonnes of rice from Thailand after this country’s anti-corruption agency launched investigations into a government rice-buying scheme, the Thai commerce minister said on February 4.

Minister Niwatthamrong Bunsongphaisan said that the cancellation was made by a Chinese state enterprise Beidahuang as it fears that it is facing troubles from the investigations.

The deal between Thailand and the Chinese firm was signed on November 20, 2013 for delivery starting in December the same year. The shipment was delayed, however, after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved parliament in December.

Analysts said that the scheme to buy rice from farmers at higher prices than those in the market has caused losses of at least 4.46 billion USD and resulted in corruption.

Meanwhile, thousands of farmers besieged main roads in many provinces and cities to ask the Government to settle overdue payments.-VNA