For the first time in history, China has bought rice from the U.S. A report in the South China Morning Post says customs officials approved U.S. rice for import last week. U.S. rice officials don’t know just how much China will buy but they do know it’s a market they’ve been trying to break into for a long time.
Johnny Sullivan of Producers Rice Mill, Incorporated, in Arkansas says, “China is a monster of a market. That fact is based on the consumption rate of rice in China. The unreal part of the story is China could chew through the entire U.S. rice crop in 14 days.”
The news comes as leaders from both China and the U.S. will get together for trade negotiations in January. The two sides began a temporary cease-fire in December by agreeing to postpone any tariff increases for 90 days while they try to negotiate a settlement.
After a six-month lull, China had recently begun purchasing U.S. soybeans again, so there is some optimism as the negotiations draw near.