SAN DIEGO, CA -- Forty individuals from USA Rice and the Central American Rice Federation (FECARROZ) met here earlier this week to talk about the Central America-Dominican Republic-U.S. free trade agreement (CAFTA-DR). CAFTA-DR will enter its fourteenth year in 2019 and as such, is required to conduct a review of the operation and implementation of the free trade agreement as it relates to trade in agricultural goods.
FECARROZ has analyzed CAFTA-DR and shared with the U.S. rice industry proposed changes aimed at maintaining the rice production and milling infrastructure in the CAFTA-DR countries while also preserving access for U.S. rice exports.
"Central America is the second largest importer of paddy rice for the United States and we hope that this meeting will facilitate a future alliance with the American rice industry so that we can be converted into the largest importer of paddy rice," said Mario Solorzano, president of FECARROZ. "The FECARROZ proposal is a win-win strategy that is necessary in order to guarantee the long term sustainability of the commercial relationships between the United States, Central America, and the Dominican Republic."
“Central America is a top destination for U.S. rice and helps keep our export market thriving,” said USA Rice Chairman Charley Mathews, Jr. “We are pleased that FECARROZ has given thought to how this trade can be sustained and reached out to us to start this dialogue.”
“We will be investigating the merits of the proposal and be in continued conversations with FECARROZ during this process,” said Todd Burich, chair of the USA Rice Latin American Trade Policy Subcommittee. “We welcome the opportunity to take a step back and evaluate improvements in our trade.”