["Although the United States produces less than 2 percent of the world's rice, it is a major exporter, accounting for more than 10 percent of the annual volume of global rice trade. The United States is regarded as a consistent, reliable, and timely supplier of high-quality rice in both the long- and combined medium/short-grain global markets. Exports are important to the U.S. rice industry, as the global market accounts for about half of its annual sales volume.
U.S. rice imports have been increasing in the last 25 years, from about 4 percent of the domestic market in the second-half of the 1980s to more than 15 percent by 2008/09 (August-July). Most U.S. rice imports are aromatic varieties from Asia--jasmine from Thailand and basmati from India and Pakistan.
U.S. Rice Exports
U.S. rice exports include rough or unmilled rice, parboiled rice, brown rice, and fully milled rice. The demand for rough rice by the top two markets--Mexico and Central America--has grown considerably over the past 15 years. The United States is the only major exporter that allows rough-rice exports. Other exporters restrict rough-rice shipments to protect their domestic milling industries.
Overall, the United States exports about half of its rice crop, mostly to Mexico, Central America, Northeast Asia, the Caribbean, and the Middle East and ships smaller volumes to Canada, the European Union (EU-27), and Sub-Saharan Africa. The largest rice-importing region in the world is Sub-Saharan Africa, but the bulk of its imports are supplied by low-priced Asian exporters. While Sub-Saharan Africa is the largest destination for U.S. food aid shipments of rice, the region also makes substantial commercial purchases. The Middle East (with Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia the biggest buyers) is the second- or third-largest global rice import market."]