USA Rice Hails ITC Study of Global Rice Industry
WASHINGTON, DC -- (May 14, 2015) -- One year to the day after the request from the House Ways & Means Committee, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has released its study of factors and policies affecting the global competitiveness of the U.S. rice industry. The study, "Rice: Global Competitiveness of the U.S. Industry," is known as a Section 332 investigation and examined the rice industry in the U.S. and in major producing and exporting countries, such as China, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Uruguay, and Brazil, and found that the world rice market is a confusing, and often unfair place.
"The global rice market is characterized by significant government intervention in both imports and exports," the report says. "[This] has affected trade and price trends in the world rice market more than it has for most other agricultural products."
The study looked at the impact on the U.S. rice industry of exports from competitor countries to the U.S. and traditional U.S. markets like Mexico, Haiti, and West Africa and found that although the U.S. rice is high quality and enjoys favorable tariff treatment from markets such as Mexico and Central America, competition is on the rise.
The report finds that while tariff and non-tariff barriers have major impacts on trade in rice, support programs also take their toll.
"Consumption support has the largest effect on the global rice market," the report finds. "Had such support not been in place in 2013, global paddy production and rice consumption would have been 6.1 million mt lower. Another factor shaping rice production in non-U.S. countries is government support for inputs such as seed, fertilizer, and fuel."
"The study provides detailed evidence that the U.S. rice industry is playing by the rules, but is at a decided disadvantage from some of our trading partners who do not," said Betsy Ward, president & CEO of USA Rice. "The report points out that support for U.S. farmers continues to decline, while in places like China, Thailand, and India, those supports are going in the opposite direction."
The yearlong study is the result of a collaboration between USA Rice and Congressman Charles Boustany (R-LA), a Member of the House Ways & Means Committee and the Committee's Chairman, Congressman Dave Camp (R-MI).
"We appreciate the leadership of Chairman Camp and Congressman Boustany on bringing these important issues to light on behalf of America's rice farmers," said Dow Brantley, an Arkansas rice farmer and chairman of the USA Rice Federation who participated in the ITC study. "We've said all along that we can compete globally and are willing to compete, but if the system is rigged against us, it makes it quite difficult."
The ITC will conduct a detailed briefing of the study with USA Rice next week and Ward says the rice industry will use this study to advocate for change in foreign government policies that negatively impact the industry's competitiveness.