Colombia Lifts Import Restrictions on U.S. Rough Rice

Aug 18, 2017
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BOGOTA, COLOMBIA -- Yesterday, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer formally announced the lifting of all remaining import restrictions in Colombia for U.S. rough rice.  Two days ago, the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) released the phytosanitary certificate for rough rice which outlines required fumigation measures.  This follows on the heels of Colombia rescinding restrictions on U.S. paddy rice and permitting its entrance into all maritime ports (see USA Rice Daily, June 22, 2017).
 
“USA Rice has worked for years to mitigate Colombia’s import restrictions on U.S. paddy and yesterday’s announcement caps this effort,” said Dick Ottis, chairman of the USA Rice Merchants’ Association.  “We can now ship paddy rice to any port in response to market demand and under commercially viable fumigation requirements.”
 
Thanks to the U.S. – Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, Colombia went from being the 51st largest export market for U.S. rice in 2011 to our 11th largest export market in 2012.  Exports have remained high each year including last year where the U.S. exported over 140,000 MT of rice to Colombia, 41 percent of which was rough rice.  Even though Colombia has been a strong market for U.S. rice for the past five years, fairly onerous restrictions have hindered additional exports of paddy rice.  The elimination of these restrictions are welcome news to the rice industry.
 
“I welcome this new agreement and the expanded market access and opportunity it will afford to U.S. exporters of paddy rice,” said the U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer.  “This outcome is a result of the Administration’s efforts to enforce international trade commitments on behalf of the American people, and to deepen our bilateral ties with key trading partners, particularly allies like Colombia.”
 
“USA Rice would like to thank Secretary Perdue, Ambassador Lighthizer, and our strong partners at the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for their persistent work in ensuring U.S. rice is given the ability to compete freely and fairly in our export markets,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.