HONG KONG – As USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue makes a high profile trip to China this week heralding resumption of U.S. beef exports there, USA Rice continues to strengthen trade ties in the region by participating in events like HOFEX, Asia’s leading food and hospitality tradeshow. At the show in May, USA Rice met with China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO), a state-owned enterprise that is the largest food company in China, and consequently the largest importer of rice.
At the meeting, the COFCO delegation confirmed that the rice phytosanitary protocol was being discussed by the Chinese government. Secretary Perdue has acknowledged to USA Rice that access for U.S. rice is high on his priority list and, as reported in today’s Wall Street Journal, U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad has noted that Secretary Perdue “was eager to work out a deal with China over rice imports.”
“We’ve spent years working on relationships in the trade in China in preparation for the day that we can ship high quality U.S. rice to China’s consumers,” said USA Rice Chairman Brian King. “The U.S. industry has fulfilled all the technical requirements needed to open up this market and while we wait for the political players to iron out the agreement, we continue to demonstrate our interest and intent with attendance at events like HOFEX.”
U.S. rice exporters from ADM Rice, Farmers Rice Cooperative, Riviana, and Sun Valley Rice also attended the show and arranged meetings at the USA Rice booth with current and prospective customers from companies such as GoFresh, a Taiwan-based sushi chain; Golden Resources Ltd., a rice importer; and ARH Company.
“HOFEX has more than 2,500 exhibitors and attracts buyers and decision makers from more than 75 countries,” said Steve Vargas with Sun Valley Rice. “It’s grown quite a bit since USA Rice last exhibited here in 2011 and our attendance is helping broaden outreach in this part of the world. As we talk to buyers and suppliers, it’s obvious that our challenge is educating the Chinese consumer that, yes, rice is grown in the U.S. and we have an ample supply of high quality product readily available for this market.”