USA Rice Participates in USDA Trade Mission to South Korea

USA Rice's Karah Fissel is at the center of things on the recent USDA trade mission to South Korea
Apr 02, 2024
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor headed up a trade mission to promote export opportunities here, as USDA works to ensure that U.S. agricultural commodities and products are available to diverse consumer groups around the world.

Sabrina Schumacher, with American Commodity Company (ACC), and Karah Fissel, USA Rice director for international trade policy, joined USDA on the ground to learn of the shifting market demographics and reinforce the strong partnership between USA Rice and Korea.  The trade mission agenda included meetings with U.S. businesses, cooperators, and state departments of agriculture from two U.S. rice-producing states, Arkansas Ag Secretary Wes Ward and California Ag Secretary Karen Ross.
The trip was instrumental to establish relationships as new staff joined the USA Rice Korea office as well as Korea’s Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation (aT) in recent months.  

USA Rice met with both importers and processors, including ACC partner, Singsong, who eagerly shared the importance of the country specific quota with the United States.  Importers were also happy to hear that California is expected to reach its typical production this year, at 475,000 acres.  

USA Rice ended the trip with a visit to aT in Naju for an introductory meeting with the new Manager of the Rice Management Department, Ms. Jeong Ja Yun, who expressed an eagerness to work with USA Rice this summer at the annual technical meetings.
“With an aging population and decreasing growth rate at 0.7 percent over the last ten years, decreasing rice consumption is becoming more of the norm as individuals diversify their diets,” Schumacher said.  “As we look to the future of U.S. rice exports, it has become increasingly clear just how important our relationships are with aT and importers alike.”
The USA Rice presence on the trade mission supported the overall goal to build a preference for U.S. rice over that of competing origins from China, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, and India.  While the primary target audience of trade promotions since the table rice auctions began in 2005 had been rice wholesalers, over the past several years market focus has expanded to also include food manufacturers and processors, and the foodservice industry.

“I was eager to establish a deep partnership with new colleagues in aT before engaging in a more formal dialogue under technical meetings,” said Fissel.  “I am hopeful that this trip laid the foundation to have a productive technical discussion later this year.”