Dec 13, 2016
ARLINGTON, VA -- Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture (MAFF) announced earlier this week that rice import tenders under the Simultaneous-Buy-Sell system (SBS) will resume on December 13. SBS tenders were halted in October following reports in the Japanese press of “adjustment money” being paid by rice importers to wholesalers and distributors in Japan. Concern arose about the price impact and legality of such payments. A MAFF investigation found no negative impact, but changes were made to tendering procedures and guidelines.
“Although a relatively small portion of Japan’s overall rice imports, SBS tenders are critical to the success of USA Rice’s promotion efforts in Japan,” said USA Rice Vice President of International Hugh Maginnis. Friday’s tender will be for 30,000 metric tons of rice from all origins, made up of 27,000 MT of whole kernel and 3,000 MT of milled rice. Rice imported under the SBS system is destined for end users such as the foodservice sector, while imports through the larger ordinary minimum access tenders end up in government stocks or released for industrial and/or feed use. Total imports under SBS are expected to be 100,000 MT in the current Japan fiscal year (JFY, April 2016-March 2017). Japan’s total rice import commitment each JFY is 682,200 MT.
“We were very concerned when the SBS tenders were suspended,” said USA Rice COO Bob Cummings. “Consistent market access to Japan’s consumers is always a challenge, and U.S. exporters are anticipating better success in SBS this year because of more competitive U.S. prices, so we are pleased that the tenders will resume. We will continue to monitor the pace and success of SBS tenders.”