Representatives from the U.S. and Taiwan rice industries met for two days last week to discuss a range of technical issues influencing rice trade. Taiwan’s government imports rice to meet the island’s commitment to the World Trade Organization, which includes annual purchases from the United States of 64,634 metric tons (brown basis). “We greatly value the market in Taiwan, and last week’s meeting was an important opportunity to exchange information, discuss issues of mutual concern, and find solutions that makes U.S.-Taiwan rice trade run more smoothly and efficiently,” said USA Rice COO Bob Cummings. “Differing inspection results for the same shipment of rice is a major obstacle in our rice trade and I’m glad that Taiwan accepted our suggestion to hold a rice grading seminar in the near future. We look forward to a hands-on discussion among experts, a better understanding of Taiwan’s quality standards, and more consistent results,” continued Cummings.
Variations in standard inspection procedures in the United States and quality inspections on arrival in Taiwan have been a concern of both sides for several years, and were discussed in detail at the Sacramento meeting. USA Rice members and staff support also holds annual technical meetings with Japan and Korea, which are also the important export markets and where national governments control or heavily influence rice imports, for opportunities to resolve non-policy issues and to build trust among industry stake holders. The Taiwan team, headed by Huang Chao-hsing of Taiwan’s Agriculture and Food Agency (AFA), outlined AFA’s tender intentions for 2017, as well as the agency’s efforts to increase rice utilization in Taiwan to the delight of USA.