Annual U.S.-Japan Rice Technical Meeting Goes On, Virtually

Close up of US & Japan flags
Hi-tech tech meeting
Jul 16, 2020
SACRAMENTO, CA – COVID-19 travel restrictions forced the 23rd annual U.S.-Japan rice technical meeting into cyberspace for the first time ever.  Exporters from the U.S. and importers from Japan participated in the video conference, which, despite the distances between participants still yielded productive results.

"This meeting continues to be an important part of maintaining smooth rice trade between the U.S. and Japan by providing us a forum to work through technical issues in a business-like manner," said Alex Balafoutis, chair of the U.S. delegation and executive vice president of Western Foods.

Meeting discussions tend to cover more technical, detailed information than can be found in typical government statistical reports and include rice supply and demand trends, export trends, and measures of quality control, among other things.

Balafoutis added: “While we had to adapt to make sure we still had the ability to provide timely presentations and get that face-to-face interaction, we are looking forward to returning to an in-person meeting format next year once travel restrictions are relaxed.”