Annual USTR Trade Barriers Report Highlights USA Rice Priorities

Cover of Foreign Trade Barriers Report showing world map in black & white outline
USTR trade report includes U.S. rice priorities
Apr 07, 2021
WASHINGTON, DC – On March 31, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published their 2021 National Trade Estimate (NTE) Report, an annual publication detailing foreign trade barriers faced by U.S. exporters.  While the report itself spans more than 550 pages and covers thousands of products and services far beyond agriculture, trade barriers for rice and other agricultural barriers are sprinkled throughout the document.

USA Rice submitted comments for the 2021 NTE last fall, accounting for priority barriers to trade in 15 overseas markets.  The USTR and sister agencies such as the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, State, and Treasury all review industry submissions and contribute to the comprehensive NTE report.  In total, USA Rice estimates that if all the trade barriers in the USA Rice 2021 NTE submission were addressed, it could result in as much as $883 million in annual additional export sales of U.S. rice over time.

The USA Rice NTE submission focused primarily on limited TRQ access for U.S. exports in Latin America, significant duties and maximum residue level concerns in the European Union, and import restrictions and barriers to consumer access in Asia.  USA Rice makes adjustments to the annual submission each year as export situations continuously change.  Many of the issues raised in the USTR’s NTE report were drawn from the USA Rice submission, with additional references to barriers for U.S. rice sales in Africa and rice subsidies in Brazil.

The NTE is instrumental in USTR’s negotiations to eliminate barriers when they engage in bilateral discussions with other countries.  USA Rice added several new markets to the 2021 submission to reflect growing barriers overseas and new market potential, likely to continue growing in the 2022 submission.

Also new to this year’s report was a USA Rice policy statement applicable across all markets that would most effectively benefit the entire U.S. rice industry, including multilateral and bilateral trade agreements that provide commercially meaningful and significant improvements in market access for U.S. rice while maintaining the appropriate safety net for U.S. producers; equal market access for all types and forms of rice; elimination of trade-distorting domestic agricultural supports subsidies in key advanced developing rice producing and exporting countries that exceed international obligations; and, establishment and rigorous enforcement of sanitary and phytosanitary import restrictions in the U.S. and overseas on the basis of sound science only.

Previous USA Rice submissions included calls to establish a country-specific-quota agreement with Korea, opposition to China’s tariff rate quota administration, and excess subsidies for rice producers.  All three issues have been addressed by the U.S. government in recent years.

Go here to access the 559-page report.