Photo: AFP Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that the country will halt rice exports to protect food security during
Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that the country will halt rice exports to protect food security during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Cambodia is not the first country to implement food protectionism. Vietnam, the world’s third-largest rice exporter, has also announced it will not accept new trade contracts.
Country stockpiling, while seemingly reasonable, can have significant effects on the global economy. Food protectionism could lead to an increase in food price inflation. China, Japan, South Korea and the Middle East will be particularly affected as imports account for a large share of the domestic food supply. Food price inflation could lead to a stronger dollar, harming economies with already weak currencies, like India and Indonesia.
Cambodia and Vietnam will also face domestic economic challenges as a result of their decisions. Rice exports contribute to a significant percentage of their national GDP. Despite the risk of losing credibility with trade partners, developing countries in Asia and elsewhere are likely to follow their example and enact food protectionism policies.
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