WASHINGTON, DC -- This week, 25 Members of Congress, many from rice-producing states and districts, signed on to letters encouraging the U.S. and Iraqi governments to work together towards the issuance of a tender for U.S. rice, preferably under the U.S.-Iraqi memorandum of understanding (MOU).
Two letters, led by Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and signed by nine other rice state senators, were sent to U.S. Secretary of State
Antony Blinken and Dr. Fareed Yasseen, Iraq’s Ambassador
to the U.S.
Representatives Clay Higgins (R-LA) and Rick Crawford (R-AR) also led a bipartisan House letter
to U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller, garnering 13 additional Member of Congress’ support.
“We’re hopeful with the great support of these Members of Congress, including Ranking Member Boozman and Congressmen Crawford and Higgins, that an MOU tender will soon be issued,” said Bobby Hanks, a Louisiana rice miller and chair of USA Rice. “We appreciate the dedication of these Members to the U.S. rice industry and their understanding of our trade priorities, particularly when it comes to Iraq.”
Iraq had been the U.S.'s sixth largest rice export market, purchasing more than 150,000 MT in 2018 and 2019. No purchases were made in 2020, amidst reduced oil revenue for Iraq and a subsequent tightening of finances.