Nov 06, 2019
TAIPEI, TAIWAN – This week, a team led by USA Rice with representation from USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and OMIC USA, Inc. (U.S.-based contract inspection company), traveled here to conduct a rice grading seminar with Taiwan’s Agriculture and Food Agency inspectors.
The delegation spent two days working with Taiwan’s importers, in-country USDA representatives, and Taiwanese government officials to discuss market conditions, demand for U.S. rice in Taiwan, and differences in grading protocols. The seminar is the second of its kind, the first was held in 2013, and was borne out of the annual U.S.-Taiwan rice technical meetings.
This particular workshop has been nearly two years in the making. Taiwan is an important export market for U.S. rice, particularly southern medium grain, where they import 64,634 MT of American-grown rice annually to meet their World Trade Organization commitments. Working out the inconsistencies in grading is pivotal to keeping commercial shipments flowing between the U.S. and Taiwan in the future.
Michael Rue, a California producer and chair of the USA Rice Asia Trade Policy Subcommittee, said, “The conversations this week were fruitful and really help drive home the importance of the industry’s regular technical discussions with our major export markets. We have addressed a number of technical issues over the years resulting from small misunderstandings that come to light during these regular meetings. Thorough discussions of the differences in interpretation of both U.S. and Taiwanese standards help the Taiwanese government better target their tender specifications.”
Seminar participants included Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture - Agriculture and Food Agency quality assurance/inspection officials, SGS Taiwan (Taiwan-based contract inspection company) officials, Kansas City-based USDA Agricultural Marketing Service - Federal Grain Inspection Service, OMIC USA, Inc. officials, and USA Rice.