The U.S. government has reached an agreement with South Korea to allow the import of 132,304 metric tons of U.S. rice per year.
The agreement, which is valued at $110 million, "gives our farmers the largest volume of guaranteed market access for rice in Korea that the United States has ever enjoyed," said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a statement.
The import quota agreement takes effect Jan. 1.
In addition to the U.S.-specific quota in the agreement, Australia, China, Thailand and Vietnam all share a combined 256,396 metric tons of the Korean rice import quota. The country will also solicit 20,000 metric tons of rice through global tenders, of which U.S. exporters will be eligible to submit bids.
The agreement with South Korea provides U.S. rice suppliers with "enhanced disciplines" related to administration of the U.S. country-specific quota, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said.
"The industry and U.S. government have spent the better part of five years working to finalize this agreement with Korea, so we are pleased to see it come to fruition," said Michael Rue, a California rice grower and chairman of USA Rice's Asia Trade Policy Subcommittee, in a statement.
USA Rice said it will participate with the U.S. government in consultations with South Korea to review the progress of the agreement, as well as compliance with WTO commitments. South Korea has consistently been a top 10 export market for U.S.-grown rice, the association said.
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