WASHINGTON, DC -- Last week, USA Rice met with U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) new Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud to discuss current market access issues for rice. USA Rice highlighted the many trade priorities of the industry including preserving the benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and improved market access to China and Japan.
"Our partnership with U.S. trade negotiators is critical," said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward. "Rice is heavily protected around the world and it is only through good trade agreements that we have gained significant market access for U.S. rice exports.”
The rice industry's long struggle for approval to sell U.S.-grown rice in China demonstrates the difficulty of doing business there and the need for reforms to their trading system. USTR was encouraged to help pull China across the finish line so U.S. rice can be part of the solution to U.S. trade concerns.
Given the Administration’s recent comments on re-engaging with Japan and President Donald Trump's meeting this week with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, USA Rice urged USTR to work for additional access for rice there which is consistent with the industry’s position in the previous administration during the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.
Other issues that were discussed with USTR were Brazil’s use of domestic support programs for rice (see USA Rice Daily, April 11, 2018
), trade with Iraq, and the EU after Brexit.
"We thanked Ambassador Doud for focusing on prosecuting rice competitors who we know are heavily subsidizing rice production - starting with the WTO case against China,” said Ward. “We appreciate the precedent these actions set with other key rice exporters like India, Thailand, and Vietnam. This meeting was a great first step in our partnership with the leader of agricultural negotiations for the United States.”