The world’s two major rice producers and exporters, Thailand and Vietnam, have taken a step closer to cooperation in global rice trade in order to avoid cutting prices, the Bangkok Post reported. The Vietnam Food Association and the Thai Rice Exporters Association on the weekend signed an accord in Ho Chi Minh City that could lead to collaboration in stabilising or shoring-up prices of rice. ”This accord is the first significant milestone after our previous talks showed no progress,” said Chukiat Opaswongse, the president of the Thai association. Authorities from five major rice-exporting countries – Thailand, Vietnam, India, Pakistan and China – agreed five years ago to cooperate more in order to stabilize rice prices, avoid price wars and share trading information. However, genuine follow-through was almost non-existent due to lack of cooperation, mainly from export businesses. ”This time, I saw that the Vietnamese exporters were more open-minded in our talks,” said Mr Chukiat, also the managing director of Huay Chuan Rice Co, one of Thailand’s leading rice exporters. He said new generations of Vietnamese traders wanted more stability in trade. ”They would like to see traders in the two countries become strategic partners and have a more crucial role in world rice trade,” he said. Thailand and Vietnam together control more than 50 percent of global annual rice trade, estimated at 26 million tons this year. Mr Chukiat said the two countries would discuss information on movements in both domestic and export prices every three months from now on….