Nov 13, 2019
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – The third annual USA Rice trade mission to Mexico took place here last week with nearly 20 USA Rice and U.S. Rice Producers Association (USRPA) members and staff participating in meetings with local rice millers, importers, and wholesalers. The group also met with Walmart executives to learn about their rice sourcing needs.
“U.S. market share is up 18 percent from this time last year, largely buoyed by an increase in rough rice exports,” said Jerry Brown, a USA Rice member who farms rice in Arkansas and who attended the trade mission. “This was a great opportunity to let our trade partners here in Mexico know we appreciate and value our relationship.”
Concerns with U.S. rice quality remained a prominent topic in many of these meetings with importers lauding rice from South America as high quality.
“The recent ban on Uruguayan milled rice will cause a temporary change in milled rice imports, so during our meetings we discussed U.S. production and ways to meet the quality needs of the importers,” said Tim Walker, general manager of Horizon Ag who also participated in the mission.
The USA Rice trade mission also joined with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s trade mission in Mexico City, led by U.S. Secretary of Agricultural Sonny Perdue that had also partnered with the National Football League’s youth health and wellness activities, NFL Play 60. While Perdue did show off some of his pigskin moves, he was there primarily to promote the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA). USMCA was a topic of interest with speculation on whether the U.S. would ratify the treaty this year (Mexico ratified it earlier this summer) as several Congressional delegations have traveled to Mexico over the past few months.
“USA Rice is strongly supportive of USMCA,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward. “NAFTA, the predecessor of USMCA, turned Mexico into our largest export market, bringing in nearly 800,000 MT of U.S. rice last year.”