China has agreed to allow imports of rice from the US for the first time. China is the world’s biggest rice consumer and the current agreement will give US farmers access to this huge market.
According to USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward: “China consumes the equivalent of the entire U.S. rice crop about every two weeks and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) expects China to import 4.8 million metric tons of milled rice in 2017/2018, by far the world’s largest import market”.
In fact China opened its rice market in 2001 (when it joined the World Trade Organisation) but a lack of protocols to control pests and plant diseases have effectively banned imports.
The current breakthrough is an establishment of “phytosanitary protocol” which outlines sanitary conditions for American rice.
“We know China wants to send a team here to inspect mills and facilities certified to ship to China, and we are working with USDA to make that happen in the quickest and most efficient way,” said Carl Brothers, chairman of the USA Rice International Trade Policy Committee.
But will anyone address the irony of selling rice to the country with the largest global rice production?