U.S., Taiwan Hold First Rice Technical Meeting

Apr 28, 2016
Testing product during a rice milling discussion
TAIPEI, TAIWAN – The Taiwanese government’s Agriculture and Food Agency (AFA) hosted a U.S. rice industry delegation Thursday for the inaugural joint technical meeting.  "We are pleased to be in Taiwan and appreciate AFA'S support for this meeting," said Alex Balafoutus, chair of the U.S. delegation and vice president at PGP International in Woodland, California.

Both sides provided information on rice production, consumption, and trade in their countries and discussed technical issues of joint interest such as rice grading and quality specifications and rice inspection in the United States.  A representative from the Overseas Merchandise Inspection Co. provided an overview of third party rice inspection in the United States.

"Taiwan is an important market for California and the mid-South and (today's) meeting is an important opportunity to exchange information and discuss issues of mutual concern.  We look forward to continuing our dialogue at next year's meeting in the U.S.," concluded Balafoutis.

Representatives from USDA's office in Taipei accompanied the U.S. delegation that also included Todd Burich, ADM Rice; Ken Cox, Farmers Rice Mill, Inc.; Chris Crutchfield,  ACC. Ltd.; Jess Errecarte, SunWest Foods, Inc ; Terry Harris, Riceland Foods, Inc.; Jim Higa, Sun Valley Rice Co, LLC; Steven Michel, Farmers' Rice Cooperative; Michael Rue, California producer; and USA Rice’s Bob Cummings.

Prior to the technical meeting Rue and Cummings visited with staff from the American Institute in Taiwan (the U.S. government's office in Taiwan) and visiting staff from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative about rice market access.

(This story was updated on May 4 to correct the name of the OMIC.)