“Have you eaten rice yet?” is a common Chinese expression used as a way to say hello. China has a population 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 second largest importer of rice, bringing in over 5 million tons annually. The U.S. rice industry worked for over a decade to gain access to the Chinese market with the signing of a phytosanitary agreement in late 2017 and certified U.S. export facilities in late 2018. 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 especially at retail which rice importers indicate will be the best market for U.S rice. China announced that they would begin importing U.S. rice in 2020 as part of their U.S.-China Phase One Agreement commitments.
USA Rice Activities
Given that U.S. rice is not yet present in the market, USA Rice has focused on meeting the current rice importers and making them aware of the U.S. rice industry. Activities have included various trade shows, one-on-one meetings, seminars and social media.