The overwhelming number of visitors to the USA Rice booth at the Food and Hotel China (FHC) show in Shanghai, China, this week, and their interest in U.S. rice, is a good indication of how ready the Chinese market is for U.S.-grown rice.
“While the importers generally understood the status of U.S. access to the China rice market, they all were interested to know when the process would conclude and when they could enter into purchase contracts to import U.S. rice,” said Jim Guinn, director of USA Rice Asia Promotion Programs.
At the USA Rice booth, a chef prepared dishes for sampling using five different types of U.S. rice from the South and California.
“During the cooking demonstration, we were able to stress the quality, variety, and safety of U.S. rice — important attributes to high-income consumers in China,” said Guinn.
USA rice also met with the U.S. Consul General (CG) as well as USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) staff from four regional offices and Beijing.
“The CG was aware of U.S. rice market access issues, and was reminded that the U.S. rice industry believes the China market represents a significant opportunity, but may require additional assistance in the political arena to get past the final hurdles to actual shipments of U.S. rice,” said Guinn.
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Guinn concluded, “We encouraged FAS to stay engaged with their Chinese counterparts to complete the access process. Once true access is gained, we would like close coordination between the affected Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) and China Inspection and Quarantine (CIQ) port officials to solve any issues that may arise with first shipments of U.S. rice.”
China remains the largest producer and consumer of rice in the world and annually imports more than five million metric tons.