Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Garamendi Applauds Agreement with South Korea for American-grown Rice

November 19, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) applauded an agreement between the United States and South Korea on improved market access for American-grown rice.

Under the agreement announced today by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Department of Agriculture, South Korea will provide access for 132,304 tons of U.S. rice annually, valued at approximately $110 million. South Korea also agreed to provide increased transparency and predictability around the tendering and auctioning for U.S. rice exported to the Korean market.

“With a $4.4 billion farm-gate value, our district is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the country,” Garamendi said. “As our region continues to feed the world, I’ve made it a priority in Congress to support the local agricultural community. Today’s announcement is a major victory for American rice farmers and builds upon the work we’ve done this year to support Northern California farmers. For example, this August I  hosted U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in Sacramento County for a discussion with local farmers. I urged Secretary Perdue at the meeting to include California-grown walnuts and all other tree nuts in a USDA program to help farmers impacted by retaliatory tariffs. Following the Secretary’s meeting with local farmers, USDA adopted this important change for walnut and other tree nut growers, providing millions of dollars in relief.”

“I thank Ambassador Robert Lighthizer and USDA Secretary Perdue for securing this access to the Korean market for California’s rice, and I hope they will make improving access to other valuable export markets like Japan a priority in future trade negotiations,” Garamendi concludes.

Background:

In 2014, the United States, Australia, China, Thailand, and Vietnam entered into negotiations with South Korea when its special treatment for rice market access under the World Trade Organization (WTO) expired. As a result of these negotiations, South Korea agreed to include in its WTO Schedule a 408,700-ton tariff-rate quota for rice imports with a five percent in-quota duty and a 513-percent above-quota duty. Of that 408,700 tons, Korea will allocate 388,700 tons of rice into country-specific quotas under a plurilateral agreement with the United States, Australia, China, Thailand and Vietnam. The remaining 20,000 tons will be administered on a global basis, for which U.S. suppliers can also bid.

The agreement gives the United States the greatest volume of guaranteed rice market access in South Korea ever, with an annual value of approximately $110 million. In addition, the agreement provides U.S. suppliers with enhanced measures related to administration of the U.S. country-specific quota. 

The agreement will enter into force on January 1, 2020.

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