U.S. Rice Industry United in Efforts to Open Chinese Market Print E-mail

Dow Brantley

U.S. Rice Industry United in Efforts to Open Chinese Market

DALLAS, TEXAS – At a meeting here yesterday the USA Rice Producers’ Group unanimously passed a motion urging the conclusion of negotiations between the United States and China to establish a phytosanitary agreement that would pave the way for U.S. rice to be exported to China.

The group, representing rice farmers in all six rice states covering close to 90 percent of the U.S. rice crop, offered guidance to U.S. negotiators to help them finalize a deal that would be acceptable and manageable to the U.S. industry.

The negotiations, between USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and their Chinese counterparts (AQSIQ), have dragged on for years and hit snags recently when the Chinese made demands the U.S. industry felt were not based on sound science.

“The Chinese are demanding our industry set traps for insects that do not exist in the United States, and that we set a totally unreasonable number of traps per square foot of storage space,” said John Owen, a Louisiana rice farmer and chairman of the USA Rice Producers’ Group.

The USA Rice Millers’ Association, whose members would be responsible for the trapping, agreed with the producers.

“We’re not opposed to trapping, but, any agreement needs to meet reasonable standards that are consistent with international trade agreement precedents and be based on quantifiable, scientific data consistent with previous USDA/APHIS procedures,” said Chris Crutchfield, a California miller and chairman of the USA Rice Millers’ Association.

Chinese negotiators are also demanding very specific package labeling that is both unprecedented and many felt unfeasible.

“The labeling requirements are not appropriate for inclusion in a phytosanitary protocol at all,” said Dick Ottis, chairman of the USA Rice Merchants’ Association.

The three organizations came together under the industry’s national organization, USA Rice, to adopt the joint resolution.

Dow Brantley, an Arkansas rice farmer and chairman of USA Rice, was pleased with the industry’s unity and strong statement that both supports, and guides, U.S. negotiators.

“There’s no question we’d like to participate in the Chinese market, but these ever-evolving demands being made by the Chinese government were making it ever-less likely we were going to actually gain access to the market,” Brantley said.  “We appreciate the efforts of the U.S. negotiators on our behalf, and are happy to provide input as a united industry.”

Brantley said the market has great potential for the U.S. industry, and that his group has been working for years to establish trade relationships and line up customers for the day the phytosanitary deal is complete. However, he says if the final deal is based on unreasonable, unscientific demands that can never be truly satisfied, there’s little point to agreeing.

“The notion that you can agree to something with the Chinese government now and fix it later is very naïve,” he said.  “Once the ink dries on that deal, the Chinese are going to hold us to it, so it needs to be a deal we all can live with today and that actually allows us to start sending our rice over there.”

 
U.S. Rice Industry United in Efforts to Open Chinese Market Print E-mail

Dow Brantley

U.S. Rice Industry United in Efforts to Open Chinese Market

DALLAS, TEXAS – At a meeting here yesterday the USA Rice Producers’ Group unanimously passed a motion urging the conclusion of negotiations between the United States and China to establish a phytosanitary agreement that would pave the way for U.S. rice to be exported to China.

The group, representing rice farmers in all six rice states covering close to 90 percent of the U.S. rice crop, offered guidance to U.S. negotiators to help them finalize a deal that would be acceptable and manageable to the U.S. industry.

The negotiations, between USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and their Chinese counterparts (AQSIQ), have dragged on for years and hit snags recently when the Chinese made demands the U.S. industry felt were not based on sound science.

“The Chinese are demanding our industry set traps for insects that do not exist in the United States, and that we set a totally unreasonable number of traps per square foot of storage space,” said John Owen, a Louisiana rice farmer and chairman of the USA Rice Producers’ Group.

The USA Rice Millers’ Association, whose members would be responsible for the trapping, agreed with the producers.

“We’re not opposed to trapping, but, any agreement needs to meet reasonable standards that are consistent with international trade agreement precedents and be based on quantifiable, scientific data consistent with previous USDA/APHIS procedures,” said Chris Crutchfield, a California miller and chairman of the USA Rice Millers’ Association.

Chinese negotiators are also demanding very specific package labeling that is both unprecedented and many felt unfeasible.

“The labeling requirements are not appropriate for inclusion in a phytosanitary protocol at all,” said Dick Ottis, chairman of the USA Rice Merchants’ Association.

The three organizations came together under the industry’s national organization, USA Rice, to adopt the joint resolution.

Dow Brantley, an Arkansas rice farmer and chairman of USA Rice, was pleased with the industry’s unity and strong statement that both supports, and guides, U.S. negotiators.

“There’s no question we’d like to participate in the Chinese market, but these ever-evolving demands being made by the Chinese government were making it ever-less likely we were going to actually gain access to the market,” Brantley said.  “We appreciate the efforts of the U.S. negotiators on our behalf, and are happy to provide input as a united industry.”

Brantley said the market has great potential for the U.S. industry, and that his group has been working for years to establish trade relationships and line up customers for the day the phytosanitary deal is complete. However, he says if the final deal is based on unreasonable, unscientific demands that can never be truly satisfied, there’s little point to agreeing.

“The notion that you can agree to something with the Chinese government now and fix it later is very naïve,” he said.  “Once the ink dries on that deal, the Chinese are going to hold us to it, so it needs to be a deal we all can live with today and that actually allows us to start sending our rice over there.”

 
USA Rice Testifies on Implementation of Conservation Title of Farm Bill Print E-mail

 

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WASHINGTON, DC -- This morning the House Committee on Agriculture's Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry held a public hearing on the implementation of conservation programs in the 2014 Farm Bill. Mississippi’s Buddy Allen, a member of USA Rice Federation’s Conservation Committee, served as one of the six witnesses offering testimony.

As a rice farmer and chairman of his local soil and water conservation district in Tunica, Allen was able to offer a unique perspective on the implementation of the farm bill’s conservation programs. Allen praised the Committee’s recognition of voluntary ag working lands conservation.

“Working land programs not only address resource concerns, they increase productivity yielding sustainability by making cropland more diverse and efficient,” he said.  “The consolidation and streamlining of the conservation title will make these programs more efficient and easier to use for farmers and ranchers.”

Allen also discussed the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), “Rice producers have put years of work into finding new ways to reduce erosion and water usage, and to address a number of other critical conservation priorities.  Because of the unique methods for farming rice compared to other commodity crops, sensitivity of water quantity/quality and soil stability are particularly essential to maintain operations. That being said, the RCPP is a natural fit for our industry to further augment our already impressive conservation platform.”

Allen and the other witnesses thanked the Members of the subcommittee for their support of the 2014 Farm Bill’s conservation title and praised the work that NRCS is doing to implement the programs.

Caption: Buddy Allen (second from left) representing the rice industry.

 
Major Chinese Rice Import Company Visits U.S. Rice Industry Print E-mail
ip-major-chinese-rice-import-co-visits-us-rice-industry-small-141008RICE COUNTRY, USA -- The USA Rice Federation facilitated the visit of four representatives from one of the largest private rice importing companies in China to the offices of U.S. rice exporters in Arkansas, Louisiana, and California this week and  last.  The company, Dragon Ocean Hing Group, was established  in 2001and has an annual import volume of over 200,000 metric tons and a turnover of more than $163 million U.S dollars.

“This trip was very successful,” said Mr. William Li, the delegation leader.  “There were more exporters interested in meeting with us than time allowed.”

With their subsidiaries Shenzhen Hong Tai Xiang Import & Export, Gold Profit Industries, and Shenzhen Yintuo, the company has built a complete rice supply chain from origin procurement to terminal sales, covering customs clearance, domestic logistics, freight forwarding, import and export agency, warehouse, rice factory, and both retail and wholesale rice distribution.

One hundred sixty thousand tons of the two hundred thousand Dragon Ocean Hing imports each year is long grain sourced from Thailand, Vietnam, and Pakistan. The remaining 40,000 tons of imports is short and medium grain rice used in alcohol and rice noodles.  The company sells products in over eighty cities, 1,200 supermarkets, 1,500 gas stations, and major on-line stores.

“We expected this trip to help prepare us to reach import contract agreements with American rice suppliers as soon as China allows rice imports from America,” “We believe American rice will enhance our product line and we wish to be the first company to import American rice into China.”

 
USA Rice Chair Appointed to Critical Trade Advisory Committee Print E-mail

dow-brantley-small-150701WASHINGTON, DC -- (July 1, 2015) -- U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and United States Trade Representative Michael Froman today announced appointments to the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC).  USA Rice Chairman Dow Brantley was tapped to join the APAC, a select group of trade experts that provides advice and information to the government on the administration of trade policy, including enforcement of existing trade agreements and negotiating objectives for new trade agreements.

"This is great news for USA Rice to be back on the advisory committee, and I want to thank Dow for his willingness to serve," said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.

Brantley, a rice producer from England, Arkansas, said, "I feel like my appointment to APAC will ensure that the U.S. rice industry is at the forefront on trade policy.  Trade is a top priority and I am happy to provide advice or guidance that will benefit U.S. rice."

USA Rice COO Bob Cummings was also reappointed to the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC) for Trade in Grains, Feed, Oilseeds and Planting Seeds.  The six different ATACs offer technical advice and information about specific commodities and products.

"The individuals we are appointing today represent one of the most important sectors to America's export economy and will provide critical advice as we negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and work to expand export opportunities for American agriculture," said Froman.

This group of committee members will serve until June 15, 2019.

Photo caption:  Dow Brantley
 


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