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World Market Meeting Covers Large Crop, Reporting Mechanisms, Trade, More

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WASHINGTON, DC – Industry leaders met here yesterday to review market data on the robust current U.S. crop, discuss critical issues, and exchange information with representatives of the U.S. government.

One area of concern for growers and millers alike was the accuracy of reporting rough rice prices to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) which form the basis of NASS’s published monthly rough rice prices.

“We heard a renewed importance of filling out the necessary forms to ensure accuracy,” said Keith Glover, president and CEO of Producers Rice Mill and chairman of the USA Rice Federation’s World Market Price committee.  “We need to be sure we’re all reporting correctly to avoid, or at least minimize, discrepancies.”

Growers also pointed to October NASS estimates that had yield figures for Texas that sounded too high, and California that sounded too low.

“We think the yield questionnaire is solid, but we can continue to work with state offices to make certain they are reaching out to the reporters to double check any numbers that seem out of place,” said a NASS representative at the meeting.

Attendees also heard updates from representatives of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) who said that there was a big push to conclude Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks in advance of next month’s APEC meeting, but the representative admitted that timeline may be optimistic.

The FAS representative also said the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) negotiations are essentially at a standstill for the remainder of the year as a new EU Commission is approved and takes office.

Carl Brothers, chief operating officer for Riceland Foods and chairman of USA Rice’s International Trade Policy committee stressed that with the changing landscape of rice markets, the U.S. government needs to challenge EU tariffs on rice.

“The EU’s Everything But Arms concession has really blown open the European market for rice from countries like Cambodia,” he said.  “It’s high time the tariffs that make U.S. rice uncompetitive there go to zero.”

The group also discussed developments in India and Thailand, Korea’s rice tariffication plans, food aid programs (see next story), and the U.S. International Trade Commission’s investigation into factors having an impact on the competitiveness of the U.S. rice industry.

“It was a very positive meeting, we covered a lot of ground, and the give and take with the U.S. government is always worthwhile,” Glover said.

Photo caption:  Chairman Keith Glover and USA Rice's Kristen Dayton

 

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