As the result of a visit to Los Angeles in June 2010, Thai government officials have negotiated a deal to sell 450,000 tons of Thai rice to be distributed in the United States and other countries via agents in the United States.
Thai Deputy Minister of Commerce Veerasak Jinarat, Ph.D, and Captain Rachata Pisitthabannakorn, Ph.D., vice president of the Thai Public Warehouse Organization (PWO), met with rice importers in Los Angeles June 19-June 21, along with Chatchai Suwannaprateep, consultant of the deputy minister; Pannakarn Jiamsuchon, Ministry of Commerce business development specialist; and Polpatra Deesawasmongkol, Ministry of Commerce export promotion specialist.
The purpose of the visit was to:
● sell new rice and stocked rice to government or private sector-markets;
● meet rice importers and agents of other countries;
● find U.S. rice agents or importers for PWO;
● provide information on Thai rice and promote different varieties, especially Thai Hom Mali rice and other types of rice; and,
● study the market situation in order to formulate a national strategy for exporting Thai rice.
Thai Trade Center Los Angeles invited five importers to meet with the delegation — H.C. Food, Inc.; LAX-C, Inc.; DMS Trading Co., Inc.; Vinh-Sanh Trading Corp.; and Mercado Latino, Inc. Following the meeting, the visitors toured the area to explore the penetration of Thai Hom Mali rice in food service, mainstream, Asian, and Hispanic markets.
The Thais also secured commitments from rice agents to sell Thai rice in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
This was the first time the Thais have secured a sale of Hom Mali rice to Hispanic markets through Mercado Latino, a food distributor, and Thai Trade Center Los Angeles Executive Director Chantira J. Vivatrat, who hosted the visit, called it “a good start.”
She added, “Thai Hom Mali rice has a high growth potential in Hispanic market as the Hispanic population is predicted to expand to become one-third of the U.S. population over the next 20 years. To take advantage of this situation, Thai Trade Center and PWO will provide help promote Hom Mali rice in this important market.”
Dr. Veerasak also reviewed obstacles to sell Thai Hom Mali and types of Thai rice in the United States, with an eye toward developing strategies to overcome these problems in the near future.
After the visit to Los Angeles, the Thai delegation met with rice importers in Washington, DC,
Toronto, Canada, and New York, to seek more commitments to purchase Hom Mali rice. The group also attended the Fancy Food Show in New York, NY, where Thai Trade Center, New York helped Thai food exporters exhibit samples of their products.
Among its many duties, the Thai Ministry of Commerce strengthens the domestic economy, creates opportunities for entrepreneurs, adds value to Thai products and services, ensures free and fair trade, strengthens consumer and producer protections, and enhances intellectual property.
PWO, which is under the control of the Thai Ministry of Commerce, is the largest rice provider in Thailand and perhaps the largest rice stockpiler in the world. PWO helps maintain the quantity and quality of Thai agricultural products and keeps adequate supplies to meet the country’s needs. PWO also controls agricultural prices in times of crisis and changing market conditions.
The organization sells rice to private and government sectors in Thailand and worldwide and promotes sales through credits or special options that support retail or wholesale sales. PWO warehouses a large supply of rice that can be used to meet orders quickly
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