China is a country of 1.4 billion people, nearly all of whom consume rice on a regular basis. Per capita rice consumption is estimated at 221 pounds per year, nearly 10 times U.S. per capita consumption and one of the highest in the world. China is the largest importer of rice, bringing in over 5 million tons annually. The U.S. rice industry has been working for over a decade to gain access to the Chinese market and while progress has been made, we are not yet to the finish line.
Market Challenges & Opportunities
Since China is self-sufficient in rice, imports are driven by a domestic price that is significantly higher than international rice prices. U.S. rice is not yet present in the market and is thus unknown to the general populace and the foodservice industry. The United States’ reputation for quality and reputable food safety standards is well known in China and provides a strong selling point for U.S. rice.
USA Rice Activities
Given that U.S. rice is not yet present in the market, USA Rice has been focusing on meeting the current rice importers and making them aware of the U.S. rice industry. We have worked with U.S. government officials to help address the concerns of the Chinese government.