USA Rice Meets with Paraguayan Rice Industry on Common Trade Policy Concerns

 
LG-Raun-&-Reinerio-Franco,-Agriplus,-VP-of-FEPARROZ, standing on rocky shoreline of large lake
USA Rice Farmers Chair LG Raun (left) and Reinerio Franco, Agriplus, VP of FEPARROZ
Dec 14, 2023
ASUNCIÓN, PARAGUAY – Earlier this week, a delegation from USA Rice traveled here to meet with members of the Paraguayan rice industry to discuss cooperation between our two countries as we share similar issues and concerns when it comes to international trade.
 
Paraguay is relatively new to growing rice, beginning less than 20 years ago with the introduction of vertically integrated production systems.  The country grows roughly 430,000 acres and many of the farmers have shares in both rice drying and rice milling facilities.

USA Rice met with the Paraguayan Chamber of Rice Industrialists (CAPARROZ), who represents the country’s 13 rice mills, and the Paraguayan Federation of Rice Producers (FEPARROZ), both of which play an integral role in the industry.

Paraguay exports the vast majority of the rice they produce to destinations in more than 50 countries.  The primary market, however, is neighboring Brazil.  Cost of production, demand due to weather-related losses, and other factors have led to increased prices for Paraguayan rice.  

Over the last decade, rice throughout South America has been impacted by India’s trade distorting practices that force world market prices downward and make higher quality rice grown in the Western Hemisphere less competitive against Asian-origin rice.  This is yet another example of the importance of enforcing the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) commitments so that growers everywhere can compete on a more equal footing.  
In April 2023, Paraguay joined the U.S. in submitting a counter-notification with regard to India’s rice and wheat subsidies reported for the year prior (see USA Rice Daily, April 6, 2023).

“Our WTO objectives are well aligned with the Paraguayan government’s and so it was important that we took time to further develop a relationship with their industry,” said Michael Rue, a California rice farmer and vice chair of the USA Rice International Trade Policy Committee, who made the trip to Paraguay.   “We look forward to continued dialogue and seeking areas of collaboration.”

Growers in Paraguay face similar pest and disease threats as U.S. growers.  Both grow rice in similar environments which makes the use of crop protectants a necessity.  Given the increasing regulatory pressure around chemical residues in Europe, U.S. and South American growers have a shared frustration with the non-science-based measures there that impact our exports.

“Our hosts in Paraguay were very generous and, after touring their operations, it’s clear that we have more in common than not,” said L.G. Raun, a Texas rice farmer and chair of the USA Rice Farmers Board of Directors, who also traveled with the USA Rice delegation.


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