Rice group pushes to cull trade barriers

The USA Rice Federation (USA Rice) has submitted comments to the Bush administration which identify key potential market barriers that must be reduced to increase exports and enhance industry profitability.

Submissions by USA Rice and other agricultural and non-agricultural groups and companies for the 2003 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers provide the basis of the president's annual report to Congress outlining trade barriers facing U.S. exports.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative prepares the report, and it forms a foundation of the U.S. government's trade policy.

“With 50 percent of the U.S. rice crop exported and a surplus stock situation, it is more important than ever that we continue to strongly encourage our government to reduce foreign trade barriers,” said Carl Brothers, chairman of USA Rice's International Trade Policy Committee.

USA Rice's submission for the NTE report included analysis of trade barriers faced by U.S. rice in key markets, including the European Union, Japan, Mexico, and Latin America.

“The barriers faced by U.S. rice run the gamut — from the anti-dumping decision made by the Mexican government to a complex and discriminatory import system in the EU. The continued refusal of the Japanese government to provide meaningful market access is another significant hurdle we're working to overcome,” said Michael Rue, chairman of the USA Rice Council, the promotional arm of the U.S. rice industry. USA Rice Federation is the national advocate for all segments of the rice industry, conducting activities to influence government programs, developing and initiating programs to increase worldwide demand, and providing other services to increase industry profitability.

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