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Mexico halts rice imports from Pakistan

Staff writer |
Mexico has suspended rice imports from Pakistan following the disvocery of the Khapra beetle in some shipments from Pakistan.

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Some 3,000 tons of Pakistan rice shipment was placed in quarantine and may be destroyed or returned to Pakistan. Customs officials have been asked to inspect every rice shipment from Pakistan for contamination, they said and added other Asian countries, including Vietnam and Thailand, are still permitted to export rice to Mexico.

The Mexican Port should return rice containers in which the khapra beetle was found and other containers should be examined to check for contamination. The transit period from Pakistan to Mexico is around 70 days and if transit time exceeds this, there is a chance of contamination.

The rice exporters said that they will examine the containers to find out the exact reason for the contamination and has alleged that American and Mexican lobbies want to prevent Pakistan rice imports to Mexico because Pakistan rice is about $100 per ton cheaper than US rice. However, most of the U.S. rice that Mexico imports is rough rice, milled by Mexico's domestic mills. Only the U.S. and Brazil allow exports of rough rice, they added.

Pakistan has exported about 16,000 tons of rice to Mexico during January - May 2013, up about 1,500% compared to the same period last year. The U.S. is traditional rice supplier to Mexico and rice exports from the US to Mexico during January - May 2013 stood at around 30,000 tons.

Mexico consumes around 850,000 tons of rice annually, and rice imports by Mexico are projected at around 730,000 tons (milled rice equivalent) in 2013-14. The U.S. accounts for over 90% of all rice imports by Mexico.

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