TAIPEI, TAIWAN -- Last week, Michael Rue, California rice producer and chairman of USA Rice's Asia Trade Policy Subcommittee, and USA Rice COO Bob Cummings met with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service employees stationed in Taiwan and with officials from Taiwan's Agriculture and Food Agency (AFA) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs to discuss ongoing concerns about access for U.S. rice in Taiwan.
When Taiwan joined the World Trade Organization, officials agreed to import 64,634 MT (brown basis) of U.S. rice annually. Approximately 45 percent is imported directly by AFA and the remainder is purchased under a Simultaneous Buy-Sell system managed by AFA officials. Import tenders for U.S. and other origin rice often fail because the offered prices exceed a price ceiling set by AFA.
"We continued our discussion with AFA about the non-transparent nature of the price ceiling mechanism and the problems this causes Taiwan in fulfilling its WTO obligations," said Michael Rue.
Taiwan did agree to hold an annual rice technical meeting with USA Rice members. Taiwan officials also expressed interest in joining the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement following completion of negotiations among the current 12 participants, including the United States.