Discussions with Iraqi Grain Board Smooth the Way for U.S. Rice Trade

Two men in business suits shake hands while another businessman looks on, US and Iraq flags flank them
Follow-up meeting stresses cooperation
Feb 18, 2020
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Over the weekend, USA Rice and U.S. Wheat Associates hosted a seminar here for officials from the Grain Board of Iraq to discuss sampling procedures and tender processes.  This seminar was proposed as a follow-up to an Iraqi reverse trade mission to Louisiana, Kansas, and Washington, DC, last fall where there were several questions about the U.S. grading process (see USA Rice Daily, October 3, 2019).

Byron Reilley, director of International Affairs Division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS), provided a thorough overview of FGIS and the laws that regulate how U.S. rice and wheat are graded.  Reilley also reviewed inspections for both bagged and bulk rice, and the group discussed the merits and challenges of reintroducing bulk rice shipments to Iraq that have been halted since 2015.

“U.S. rice and wheat exporters here got to ask about several obstacles in the tenders, such as discharging, payment timing, and penalty language,” said Sarah Moran, USA Rice vice president international, who was also in attendance.  “The officials offered to ameliorate many of these obstacles.  This was a great follow-up to last year’s reverse trade mission and we will work to maintain this positive momentum.”

At the end of the seminar, USDA Undersecretary for Trade & Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney thanked the Iraqi’s for their participation and for being strong purchasers of U.S. rice and wheat.  

Iraq was the United States’ seventh largest export destination for rice in 2019, bringing in 154,000 MT valued at $72 million.