California Rice Headed to China for First Time Ever

Brian German Agri-Business, Trade

Despite the uncertainty surrounding trade relations between the United States and China, California rice will be headlining to China for the first time ever.  A deal was reached between Sun Valley Rice and a private Chinese importer, which was facilitated by the agricultural trade promotion program.

California riceSun Valley Rice CEO Ken LaGrande indicated in a prepared statement that their patience has finally paid off after fifteen years of hard work. “It is truly an honor and a privilege to blaze this trail of trading history – American rice in China. Our team has worked with incredible tenacity and diligence to reach this point,” said LaGrande.

The Sun Valley Rice contract is reported to be about 40 tons of medium-grain rice, grown in the Sacramento Valley.  The rice was purchased by the Chinese importer-exporter Shenzhen Yintuo, which is a part of the Dragon Ocean Hing Group.  The California rice will be arriving in time for the Mid-Autumn Festival that takes place in September.

“China and the US have strong complementarity and broad cooperation space in the agricultural sector, which has been affected by the trade friction,” Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng said during a recent press conference. “This is not what we hope to see. Agricultural products are an important issue for the two sides to discuss.”

The Chinese market initially opened back in 2017 after nearly a decade of negotiations between U.S. and Chinese officials.  China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine needed to review American rice facilities before trading could commence.  Priorities shifted however after the trade relationship between the U.S. and China soured in 2018.  There is optimism in the American agriculture industry that this could be an important first step toward a better relationship with China.

“This sale marks a turning point for the U.S. rice industry and its relationship with China as it is the first ever sale of U.S. rice to a private importer and is truly historic as it sets the stage for continued regular trade with China for U.S. grown rice,” USA Rice President and CEO Betsy Ward said in news release.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West