WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) held a virtual grain sector meeting with industry stakeholders as part of their routine process to share agency updates and collect feedback.
APHIS works closely with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), both at the Department’s headquarters and in U.S. embassies overseas as the technical arm of the U.S. government’s agricultural representation. APHIS has led the way to a number of market access openings for U.S. rice around the world, including the establishment of a phytosanitary protocol for U.S. rice shipped to China, expanded access for U.S. paddy rice exports to Colombia, and resolved dozens of costly issues when shipments are detained at foreign ports.
USA Rice thanked the APHIS staff for their longstanding cooperative relationship and the proactive approach they take to address issues, often before the industry experiences market blockage.
Staff also asked APHIS to continue their work to expand the acceptance of electronic phytosanitary certificates, declaring that the rice is pest and disease-free, to decrease costs and improve efficiency of shipments. Another area of concern relayed was for continued monitoring of foreign pests entering the borders of neighboring countries, such as the khapra beetles detected in 2019 in Uruguayan rice shipments to Mexico.
Sarah Moran vice president international said, “The U.S. rice industry works hard to prevent pest and disease infestations within our crop and as a result has significant market access for our milled, brown, and paddy rice exports. We would hate to see spread of pests over the U.S.-Mexican border from relaxed inspections from other origins, like Uruguay.”
Moran added: “The APHIS staff in Washington, and at the various posts where we export rice, have been incredibly helpful as we continue to see growing non-tariff barriers to trade spring up, primarily in the sanitary and phytosanitary space and with arbitrary maximum residue levels being set.”
APHIS maintains foreign service officers at 28 posts around the world to help facilitate U.S. agricultural exports.