BAGHDAD, IRAQ – After an absence of nine months, Iraq has come back into the market with the purchase of 40,000 MT of U.S. rice, as part of the USA Rice – Al Awees Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU calls for annual purchases of 200,000 MT of U.S. rice (see USA Rice Daily, July 29, 2021
Al Awees purchased 120,000 MT following the signing of the MOU last summer and has just finalized the purchase of another 40,000 MT with shipment expected in October. The final 40,000 MT remains outstanding, but U.S. exporters continue to negotiate with Al Awees on the price for that tonnage. The MOU is renewed annually.
“These sales were welcome news as we are finishing moving out old crop and making way for new crop,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward. “The U.S. rice industry values the strong relationship we have with Al Awees and looks forward to these annual sales.”
Iraq has been a top market for U.S. rice for decades, but often fluctuates between no purchases of U.S. rice to buying up to 150,000 MT. The MOU attempts to bring some stability and predictability in the market, for both the U.S. rice industry and the Iraqi government that uses rice to provide rations to its citizens.
“We also want to express our appreciation to the former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller for his support and the continued interest from several Congressional members to help maintain Iraq as a top export market,” said Ward.