Exclusive Video Pitch Helps Promote U.S. Rice to Chinese Market

Older white man wearing business suit stands at podium with large poster welcoming Terry Branstad, US Ambassador to China
Ambassador Terry Branstad
Apr 20, 2020
BEIJING, CHINA -- As China continues implementation of the U.S.-China Phase One agreement, signed in January of this year, rice purchases continue to be noticeably absent.  The U.S. and China approved a phytosanitary protocol which officially permitted imports of U.S. milled rice in 2017 and U.S. export facilities were approved in late 2018, yet imports have not occurred to date.

To encourage importers in China to purchase American-grown rice, U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad and his staff created a short video featuring the Ambassador touting safe, nutritious U.S. rice and looking to strengthen the relationship with our rice importing partners. Branstad authorized the use of the video for U.S. rice marketing efforts in China.  So far, USA Rice has featured the video on the social media platform, Weibo, as well as sending the video directly to private rice importers using both email and wechat.  To date, the video is not available outside China.

USA Rice has spent years developing a partnership with our Chinese counterparts and building relationships with the private rice importers and state trading enterprises (STEs) here.  

“Private importers continue to express strong interest in bringing in U.S. rice; however, they appear to be reluctant to commit to buying until a purchase is first made by an STE, especially the largest such organization, COFCO, China’s state-owned food trader, manufacturer, and processor, ” said Sarah Moran USA Rice vice president international.  “Such a purchase would likely send the signal to private companies that timing is right to import U.S. rice.  Given the outstanding obligations from Phase One, there is sufficient opportunity to purchase U.S. rice.”

In January 2020, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced that purchases of U.S.-grown rice would be part of the U.S.-China Phase One agreement.  Additionally, China agreed to come into compliance with World Trade Organization commitments regarding domestic support for rice producers and tariff rate quota administration for imported rice.