California Tour Encourages Trade with Turkey

Group of men stand talking near large yellow combines
Sean Doherty (far left) hosts the delegation on his farm in Dunnigan CA
Oct 03, 2019
SACRAMENTO, CA – Last week, a group of rice and pulse traders from Turkey toured California rice country during a reverse trade mission sponsored by USA Rice, the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) based in Ankara.  

The California Rice Commission provided the group with an overview of the U.S. rice industry, and conducted tours of nearby farms and mills, and USA Rice hosted a dinner reception where members of the U.S. rice industry exporting California rice as well as Southern medium grain were present to discuss the market situation and potential for U.S. rice sales in the future.

“Turkey has been a difficult market over the past two years,” said Sarah Moran, USA Rice vice president international.  “As a result of the ongoing trade war, Turkey imposed retaliatory tariffs of an additional 50 percent on all types of U.S. rice last summer.  These tariffs were reduced to 25 percent in August and, while it’s definitely a step in the right direction, these measures still limit U.S. rice sales to this market.”

U.S. rice sales to Turkey have dropped drastically -- 1,200 MT in 2019, and 1,100 MT in 2018, compared to 240,000 MT in 2014, and more than 100,000 MT in 2015.  Local consumers still have a preference for U.S. rice, however, other origins have started to penetrate the marketplace including Greek, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian, and Italian, as they can enter Turkey at a lower tariff rate than U.S. origin.

“The only entity who can import rice at zero duty to Turkey is the Turkish Grain Board (TMO) and USA Rice is currently working on developing relationships with this organization to better understand their tendering requirements and to facilitate increased U.S. rice sales there,” said Moran.