Underreporting of Rice Exports Cause for Concern

Rice being loaded onto a rail car at Southern Louisiana Rail Facility
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Dec 05, 2017
ARLINGTON, VA -- In a recent meeting with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), USA Rice members heard an update on export sales reporting - a federal requirement for exporters of specific commodities, including rice.  On a weekly basis, exporters are mandated to report any contract for export sales entered into or subsequently modified during the reporting period.  

For rice, the reporting period is the seven-day period ending at midnight on Thursday.  Reported information includes type, class, and quantity of the product, the marketing year of shipment, and the destination, if known.  Reports are due by noon each Monday and can be submitted online, faxed, or mailed.  

Reporting export sales is not optional.  It is mandated by law and exporters who fail to report can be fined up to $25,000 and/or imprisoned for up to a year.

“It was very concerning to hear the magnitude of underreporting in many of our top export markets,” said Betsy Ward, president & CEO of USA Rice.  “When comparing data from USDA’s export sales with U.S. Census Bureau Trade data, underreporting of as much as 50 percent is occurring in some countries.  The primary destinations where we see reporting problems are Mexico, where there is a 75 percent difference in reporting, Canada where there is a 60 percent difference in reporting, and several Central American countries, which range from 48 - 78 percent.”

“As an export dependent industry that relies on accurate data from USDA, it is critical that reporting is done correctly and on time,” said Bobby Hanks, president of Louisiana Rice Mill and chairman of the USA Rice International Trade Policy Committee.

This message will be reiterated during business meetings at the 2017 USA Rice Outlook Conference that starts this coming weekend.