US, S. Korea Reach Annual Rice Export Deal Worth More Than $100Mln - Trade Representative

US, S. Korea Reach Annual Rice Export Deal Worth More Than $100Mln - Trade Representative

The United States and South Korea reached a deal to allow more than $100 million of American rice exports into the Asian country each year, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) said on Tuesday

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 19th November, 2019) The United States and South Korea reached a deal to allow more than $100 million of American rice exports into the Asian country each year, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) said on Tuesday.

"Under the agreement, Korea will provide access for 132,304 tons of US rice annually, with an annual value of approximately $110 million," the USTR said in a statement. "Korea also agreed to important disciplines to ensure transparency and predictability around the tendering and auctioning for US rice."

Rice has been South Korea's most important agricultural crop and staple grain but Seoul's policies had isolated its market in the past from the global rice markets, the US Department of Agriculture said separately in a report.

In 2014, the United States, Australia, China, Thailand, and Vietnam entered into negotiations with Korea when its special treatment for rice market access under the World Trade Organization (WTO) expired.

"Exports are critical for the economic health of the US rice industry, with half our crop being exported every year," US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was quoted as saying in the USTR statement. "Agreements like this, that expand opportunities for US rice producers in important markets, are critical to introduce foreign customers to the bounty of goods produced by America's farmers."

Following the WTO negotiations, Korea agreed to include in its WTO schedule a 408,700-ton tariff-rate quota for rice imports with a five percent in-quota duty and a 513-percent above-quota duty.

Of the 408,700 tons, Korea will allocate 388,700 tons of rice into country-specific quotas under a plurilateral pact with the United States, Australia, China, Thailand and Vietnam. The remaining 20,000 tons will be administered on a global basis, which U.S. suppliers can also bid for.