Phytosanitary Deal with China Still Not Complete

May 26, 2015
No U.S. rice past this point....yet
 No U.S. rice past this point...yet
WASHINGTON, DC - A phytosanitary agreement between the United States and China that would clear the way for U.S.-grown rice to start flowing into China has been in the works for almost a decade, but a final agreement continues to elude negotiators.  

Earlier this year, after lengthy negotiations on a technical level, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) sent their Chinese counterparts, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), what many thought would be a final - or close to final - agreement. However, AQSIQ sent back a modified agreement that includes provisions not seen in any such agreement entered into between the U.S. and any other country.
 
APHIS has sent AQSIQ a request for clarification on some of these requirements in the hopes of moving the final agreement along.
 
"Some think the U.S. should just sign the agreement and work out problems later, but our past experience tells us APHIS is right to get answers from the Chinese now, rather than to try to correct a bad deal after the fact," said Jim Guinn, USA Rice's vice president of international promotion. "This market is big enough and potentially important enough that the agreement needs to be done right the first time around."
 
Guinn says USA Rice will remain engaged with APHIS as they attempt to open the rice trade between the U.S. and China, continue the regular consultation with rice industry growers and the exporters who will do the business once the market opens, and direct promotion efforts and relationship-building in China for the time when an agreement is finally reached.