LISBON PORTUGAL – USA Rice staff and members attended the biannual Convention of the Federation of European Rice Millers here last week. The two-day event features excellent speakers covering a wide range of topics potentially impacting the rice trade here including Brexit, sustainability, consumer trends in Europe, and more.
USA Rice has been a sponsor of the event for several years as it provides an opportunity to meet with different stakeholders from the European rice trade, including importers, mills, EU officials, and local rice associations. Several USA Rice members also attended the event, and USA Rice Chairman Charley Mathews, Jr. gave a presentation on the recently published U.S. Rice Industry Sustainability Report, highlighting the progress made on the ground in rice fields and rice operations, a topic of great importance in the EU.
"I was honored to represent USA Rice and our industry at this event and hear from the Europeans about market challenges and opportunities for U.S.-grown rice," said Mathews. “I was pleasantly surprised at the level of interest the attendees showed in our strong sustainability work. It seemed like largely new information and positively received, so quite encouraging as we look for opportunities to grow sales of U.S. rice in the EU."
With the latest Brexit deadline of October 31 looming, there was extensive talk and analysis of what would happen and what it would mean for the rice trade. However, with the sands constantly shifting beneath lawmakers in the UK, there were no conclusive proclamations of how Brexit will shake out.