With help from a last minute, full-court press by USA Rice involving Congress, the U.S. Embassy, and high-level State Department and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials, Iraq made its first-ever purchase of U.S. rice under the U.S. – Iraq Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This sale will help U.S. rice exporters gain a foothold in the Iraqi market, and heightens prospects for new sales in the future.
Iraq’s precedent-setting purchase of 30,000 MT of U.S. long grain milled rice comes after more than 16 months without any Iraqi purchases of U.S. rice. “We are very pleased to see that Iraq has stepped up to meet its commitment to purchase U.S. rice under this agreement,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward. “This could not have come at a better time for the U.S. rice industry, and we are grateful for the cooperation of the Iraqi Grain Board (IGB) and the Ministry of Trade (MOT), and are confident that this transaction will mean more Iraqi purchases of U.S. rice in the near future.”
The 30,000 MT sale for July delivery was awarded to ADM, and comes almost a full year since the MOU was negotiated between the MOT and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
“The USA Rice team, including our local office in Iraq, worked hand-in-glove with Congress, the State Department, and USDA over the last year to keep the pressure on, ensuring that Iraq follows through on its commitment to purchase competitively-priced U.S. grown rice under this MOU,” said Hugh Maginnis, USA Rice vice president international. “We appreciate the teamwork and persistence of so many people who contributed to this successful sale. This gives our rice farmers a very welcome shot in the arm.”