Rice: New Tariff Code Helps Trap Aromatic Imports

Last week, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) approved a USA Rice request to add additional tariff code classifications for imported rice.  Beginning July 1, U.S. rice importers will be able to report whether imported rice is classified as milled or brown Jasmine or milled Basmati.

Until now, all of these types fell under one category, Long Grain, which was an inaccurate representation of the types of rice entering the U.S.

The new statistical breakouts are subject to review after five years.  At that point, if the trade levels meet the ITC threshold of $1M in annual trade per product and have not created any concerns about confidentiality, the new breakouts will remain in place until the next five-year review.

Rice is an import-sensitive commodity, and imports have been growing steadily, with the vast majority being aromatic varieties from Thailand and India.  The U.S. rice industry — from the rice merchant and importer level to the foodservice and distributor level — will benefit significantly from the detailed knowledge obtained from tracking rice imports under these new tariff codes.

The increased data on trends in specialty variety imports will allow the U.S. industry to manage business to better meet the domestic demand, including expanding rice acreage for those specialty varieties to reduce the need for imports.

“The new tariff codes will greatly benefit the U.S. rice industry,” said USA Rice Millers’ Association Chair Keith Gray.  “Getting a more accurate picture of rice imports entering the country will allow us to better respond to market trends and consumer demands.”




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