VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Marcos Jr. falsely claims Vietnam, Thailand currently ban rice exports

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In a June 20 press conference, then-president-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. claimed that Vietnam and Thailand imposed a ban on their rice exports. It is false.

STATEMENT

When asked about his priorities as incoming Agriculture secretary, Marcos Jr. said:

“First of all will be to try to increase production as we come into the harvest period during, before, and after the rainy seasons. Hopefully, we can counteract some of the increases in prices. You may have noted that Thailand and Vietnam, for example, one of our main sources of imported rice, have decided to ban their rice exports, at least for now. So, we have to compensate for that by increasing production here in the Philippines.”

Source: ABS-CBN News Channel, FULL PRESS BRIEFING: President-elect Bongbong Marcos discusses economic priorities, June 6, 2022, watch from 5:40 to 6:22

FACTS

While Vietnam did ban selling rice overseas in March 2020, it resumed exporting the grain on May 1, or just after two months, and has not stopped since then. Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) reported that the country’s rice exports even increased in volume, value, and price in the first quarter of 2022.

There is no record that Thailand has issued a rice export ban. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service report for June this year noted an increase in Thai rice exports this year due to rising demand and the weakening of the Thai baht.

VERA Files Fact Check reached out to the Thai Embassy in Manila on this but has not received a response.

In the first quarter of 2022, MARD said that 672,136 tons of rice, which account for 44.7% of Vietnam’s grain export, went to the Philippines. The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service report for Vietnam noted that the country is the Philippines’ largest rice supplier since 2019.

According to the United Nations Comtrade, the agency’s official repository of international trade statistics, Thailand was the Philippines’ fifth-largest source of imported rice in 2020. The Thai Rice Exporters Association reported that 51,552 metric tons of rice were exported by Thailand to the Philippines from January to April 2022.

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Sources

ABS-CBN News Channel, FULL PRESS BRIEFING: President-elect Bongbong Marcos discusses economic priorities | ANC, June 20, 2022

United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service official website, Grain and Feed Update, July 1, 2020

Department of Agriculture official website, Vietnam resumes rice exports to Phl, ASEAN countries, May 11, 2022

Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam official website, Rice exports in the first quarter of 2022 increased in volume, value and price, April 18, 2022

United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service official website, Grain and Feed Update, June 8, 2022

United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service official website, Grain: World Markets and Trade, June 2021

United Nations Comtrade official website, UN Comtrade Analytics – Trade Dashboard, Accessed on June 28, 2022

Thai Rice Exporters Association official website, RICE EXPORTS BY DESTINATION 2022, June 23, 2022

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