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HomeIndustry NewsUSA Rice Trade Barriers Reinforced in USTR’s Annual National Trade Estimate Report

USA Rice Trade Barriers Reinforced in USTR’s Annual National Trade Estimate Report

By Sarah Moran

WASHINGTON, DC – Last Friday, March 29, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published their 2024 National Trade Estimate (NTE) Report, an annual publication detailing foreign trade barriers faced by U.S. exporters. The release of the 2024 NTE Report follows the March 1, 2024, release of the 2024 President’s Trade Policy Agenda and 2023 Annual Report.

Spanning nearly 400 pages, the report provides a comprehensive review of significant foreign barriers to U.S. exports of goods (including agriculture) and services, U.S. foreign direct investment, and U.S. electronic commerce in key export markets for the United States.

In October, USA Rice submitted comments to USTR that outline U.S. rice-specific barriers in markets throughout the globe in preparation for the 2024 NTE. USA Rice adjusts the annual submission each year as export situations continuously change. The USTR and sister agencies such as the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, State, and Treasury all review industry submissions and contribute to the comprehensive NTE report.

“We estimate that if all of our 2024 outlined trade barriers across all 14 markets were resolved, in time, it could result in more than $464 million in additional export sales of U.S. rice,” said Karah Fissel, USA Rice director of international trade policy.

The NTE is instrumental in USTR’s negotiations to eliminate barriers when they engage in bilateral discussions with other countries. This year, USTR broke past practice with the NTE by limiting its scope to trade barriers that do not serve legitimate public policy interests, saying it was more closely aligning to its congressional mandate, drawing criticism from business groups concerned about USTR’s leadership mainly on digital trade.

Several of the USA Rice NTE submissions were highlighted in the comprehensive USTR report, including Honduras’s opaque and burdensome import licensing requirement, Panama’s unilateral conversion of the 2024 milled rice quota allocation and addition to the 2024 rough rice quota, and the continuing price ceilings and markups in Taiwan and Japan.

USTR also included mentions of longstanding trade distorting domestic support programs in India and China, on which USA Rice commented, encouraging action at the World Trade Organization. In all, USTR references rice 100 times throughout the report.

“Along with its current export ban, India’s over-subsidization impacts U.S. and world prices, decreasing our competitiveness and disrupting food security in very troubled parts of the world,” said Fissel. “Once India lifts the ban, the world market will be flooded with cheap rice. We will once again see distorted prices and U.S. rice will again be unfairly undercut.”

Go here to access the 394-page report.

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