U.S., Korea reach agreement on market access

rice exports
Photo courtesy USA Rice

The United States and Korea have reached an agreement on market access for U.S. rice, according to a recent announcement from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue.

Under the agreement, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2020, Korea will provide access for 132,304 tons of U.S. rice annually, with an annual value of about $110 million. Korea also agreed to protocols to ensure transparency and predictability around the tendering and auctioning for U.S. rice.

“It will prove enormously beneficial for American producers and their customers in Korea, who will enjoy access to high quality and cost competitive U.S. rice,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a news release.

Purdue agreed. “Agreements like this that expand opportunities for U.S. rice producers in important markets are critical to introduce foreign customers to the bounty of goods produced by America’s farmers.”


In 2014, the United States, Australia, China, Thailand and Vietnam entered into negotiations with Korea when its special treatment for rice market access under the World Trade Organization expired. As a result, Korea agreed to include in its WTO Schedule a 408,700-ton tariff-rate quota for rice imports with a 5% in-quota duty and a 513% 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, which U.S. suppliers can also bid for.

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


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