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Mitsui to Import Rice From Myanmar in First Purchase Since 1968

Mitsui & Co. said it would import 5,000 metric tons of rice from Myanmar in Japan’s first purchase of the grain from the Southeast Asian country in more than four decades.

Japan’s second-largest trading company purchased the long-grain rice for an import tender held by the agriculture ministry for sales to producers of liquor and crackers, an official for Tokyo-based Mitsui said by phone today. She asked not to be identified because she isn’t authorized to make public statements to the media.

Mitsui is considering investing 15 billion yen ($159 million) in Myanmar to build three rice-milling facilities capable of processing 300,000 tons a year for shipments mainly to the Middle East and Africa, she said.

Japan, self-sufficient in rice, agreed to give minimum-market access to rice-exporting countries at the Uruguay Round of world trade talks in 1993 by buying 770,000 tons a year.

The current purchase will be shipped from Yangon in May, the official said. It will be the first purchase by Japan since 1968, she said.

The Financial Times and the Irrawaddy reported the transaction earlier.

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