US rice enters Chinese market, on sale this month

By Zhao Juecheng Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/6 20:38:40


The US has started to ship rice to China for the first time, as a leading multinational grain company revealed to the Global Times that the first batch of US-produced rice had been cleared and is set to hit markets later this month.

The Archer-Daniels-Midland Company (ADM), a US-based multinational food processing and commodities trading corporation, is attending the 3rd China International Import Expo (CIIE) for the first time.

Liu Yuxiang, ADM Asia-Pacific President, said in an exclusive interview with the Global Times on Friday that the first shipment of US-produced rice to China has arrived in Xiamen, East China's Fujian Province. Later this month, he said ADM will hold a small trial sales event.

The first delivery was from California, Liu told the Global Times, stressing that the US is keen on bringing quality rice to the Chinese market, and ADM has made great efforts together with others for a long time. 

Unlike other commodities, rice is one of the main grain rations for Chinese, and US exports to China would offer more choices to Chinese consumers, Liu said.

Negotiations for US-produced rice to China lasted over a decade. China's General Administration of Customs announced an import permit for American rice on December 27, 2018 in accordance with relevant Chinese laws and regulations, and the protocol on sanitary requirements signed by both sides.

Liu said ADM plans to hold a trial sales event with grain dealers. "The rice trade is expected to expand as long as consumers find the prices and taste appropriate, and the trade channels remain unobstructed."

China is one of the world's largest rice importers. China imported 2.55 million tons of rice in 2019, mainly from Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, Myanmar and Cambodia.

The fresh rice trade is in line with the first phase trade deal of the two countries, which includes China's expanding import of agricultural products from the US. Chinese Customs spokesman Li Kuiwen in July told a press conference that China remains committed to fulfilling the first phase trade deal.

The US Trade Representative and Department of Agriculture jointly released a statement on October 23 that China had purchased US-produced agricultural products worth over $23 billion, accounted for about 71 percent of the goal in the trade deal.

The Chinese market's demand for agricultural products is stable, as well as the requirement for food safety. The market's demand for imports will remain a stable trend as well. Related businesses of ADM have also been increasing, Liu said.

As China increases its purchase of US agricultural products, it is also seeking to diversify its supplies, especially in soybeans. The nation has been expanding soybean imports from Brazil, while exploring new supplies from Russia and others. 

Liu noted that China's diversifying supply does not have an impact on ADM's business and supply chains. As one of the largest multinational food processing and commodities trading companies, it is also one of the world's largest producers of soy protein, and is producing a series of plant-based food, which is expected to thrive in three to five years and offer growing momentum for the company.


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