According to the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), Vietnam exported over 4.88 million tonnes of rice as of September 11, 2018, the highest level for the same period over the past three years. In particular, the nine-month export volume also surpassed the total export volume of the whole of 2016 at 4.86 million tonnes. The statistics released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) also show that Vietnam exported 4.4 million tonnes of rice in the first eight months of this year, up 6.8% over the same period in 2017. However, rice exports are predicted to encounter challenges in the last quarter of this year as Vietnamese rice exports to China, the largest import market of Vietnam, decreased by 32.8% in the first seven months of this year. In addition, Vietnamese sticky rice that is exported to China receives a tariff up to 50%, resulting in difficulties for Vietnamese exporters. According to Nguyen Quoc Toan, Acting Head of the Department of Agro-product Processing and Market Development under the MARD, Vietnamese rice will also have to compete with Thailand and India in terms of prices, as their export prices are falling and the Thai baht and Indian rupee are weakening against the US dollar. Moreover, China has allowed 19 Indian firms to export rice to China, while signing a deal with Thailand to import 10,000 tonnes of Thai rice, resulting in fiercer competition for Vietnamese rice exporters, Toan noted.