By Sarah Moran, USA Rice
ARLINGTON, VA — This past weekend, reports emerged regarding a Japan-U.S. trade deal covering agriculture, automobiles, and digital trade. Initial reports indicate that rice was left out of this deal.
“While we are certainly disappointed to hear that rice wasn’t included in last week’s discussions, we remain committed to working with the U.S. government to realize improved rice trade,” said Charley Mathews, Jr., chair of USA Rice. “At this point, we’re faced with a 379 percent tariff on U.S. rice going into Japan which translates to a lack of consumer access.”
Japan is the third largest export market for U.S. rice and for decades, USA Rice has pushed for an improvement in the quality and quantity of access for U.S. rice in Japan. While Japan imports more than $200 million of U.S. rice, much of that rice does not reach the Japanese consumer due to Japan’s import policies and anticompetitive practices.
“Rice remains one of the most manipulated and protected commodities around the world, and Japan is no exception,” said Bobby Hanks, chair of the USA Rice International Trade Policy Committee. “A comprehensive trade deal is the avenue in which to see improved commercial access to this vital market that has demonstrated an interest in U.S. rice.”
As Japan and the U.S. continue trade discussions, USA Rice will support the U.S. government in adequately advocating for U.S. rice farmers and the $34 billion rice industry that they represent.