Thailand is targeting to reclaim the world leading rice exporter next year as it maintains its original projection to export 7 million tonnes of rice this year, the Thai Ministry of Commerce has said.

The report was issued after the signing of an agreement between the ministry officials and representatives of the Chinese government, in which China will buy more than 1 million tonnes of rice and tapioca from Thailand .

According to Director General of the Foreign Trade Department under the Commerce Ministry Surasak Riangkrul, the ministry has repaid 140 billion THB (about 4.51 billion USD) from rice sales in the pledging scheme and another batch of 24 billion THB will be returned to the Finance Ministry next month.

A total of 164 billion THB will be paid this year and the ministry plans to return 130 billion THB next year, at an average 12 billion THB per month, he said.

The Commerce Ministry is negotiating to sell rice on government-to-government basis to China , and countries in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa .

It is expected that there will be a positive trend for Thai rice sales next year as several exporting countries will possibly export less after their crops were hit by natural disasters.-VNA