Nov 14, 2022
WASHINGTON, DC – Late last month, USA Rice formally submitted comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) regarding foreign trade barriers to U.S. rice exports. The industry overview is designed to aid the agency in formulating their 2023 National Trade Estimate Report (NTE), which will be published next spring.
Similar to what has been submitted in recent years, USA Rice accounted 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.
“It would be a near impossible task for USTR to break down all of our 2023 outlined trade barriers, but based on estimates, we think we could see more than $450 million in additional value added back to the U.S. rice industry through increased export sales,” said Sarah Moran, USA Rice vice president for international.
New to the report this year was a subsection regarding an implementation delay by the European Union-27 for the U.S. tariff rate quota splits, impacting the volume of U.S. milled rice that can enter duty-free in 2022 and possibly in 2023. The quota was split in response to Brexit when the 38,721 metric ton tariff rate quota was divided between the EU-27 and the United Kingdom. This technical implementation delay has created a shortfall of 8,521 metric tons, which in a year with high demand for milled rice in Europe, has cost U.S. exporters between $8-12 million in lost export value. The UK was able to quickly and seamlessly implement their share of the quota without the bureaucracy that agreements face in the EU-27.
Other major issues in the report are attributed to the barriers created by government solicitation protocols in Asia, arbitrary maximum residue levels and testing protocols throughout a number of markets worldwide, and calls by markets to stifle the phase-outs of duties, including the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement.
“The vast majority of the issues highlighted in the report are not new issues for USTR, however it is helpful to make sure, as an industry, we’re comprehensively on the record,” said Moran.
USA Rice again called out India and China for their longstanding trade distorting domestic support programs, encouraging USTR to take swift action at the World Trade Organization to push China to comply with the terms of the two existing rice-related cases and to file a request for consultations with India.