Louisiana Agriculture News

US Senators Encourage Increased Access For US Rice In UK Trade Negotiations

By Jamison Cruce

WASHINGTON, DC -- On Monday, a group of United States Senators from rice-producing states sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer encouraging increased market access for rice during trade negotiations with the United Kingdom (UK). 

The letter, led by Senator John Boozman (R-AR), outlines the potential market for U.S. rice that could exist if the U.K. eliminated its protectionist barriers, saying, "Prior to 2007, the U.K. was one of the largest export destinations for American rice, with a 10-year annual average of 115,000 metric tons...Given market demand and existing relationships with Britain's importers, the U.S. rice industry stands ready to regain significant market share through these negotiations."

With no domestic rice production and an increasingly diversified population, even greater opportunities exist for U.S. rice exports to the U.K. now than in the past. On average, the U.K. imports more than 600,000 metric tons of rice annually.

Other signatories on the letter include Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Ted Cruz (R-TX).

"USA Rice greatly appreciates our advocates in the United States Senate who are supportive of our industry and increasing market opportunities for U.S. rice," said Bobby Hanks, a Louisiana rice miller and chair of the USA Rice Trade Policy Committee. "We join these legislators in asking USTR to fight for increased U.S. rice access in the U.K. to recapture this once important market."