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American Shipper

Colombia eases restrictions on U.S. paddy rice exports

The U.S. government has entered a new agreement with Colombia that will ease some of the previous requirements on U.S. paddy rice exported to the South American country, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

   The U.S. government has entered a new agreement with Colombia that will ease some of the previous requirements on U.S. paddy rice exported to the South American country.
   A 2012 agreement between the two countries permitted exports of U.S. paddy rice to Colombia, but under strict and expensive requirements related to phytosanitary concerns.
   “The new agreement lifts these requirements and expands access beyond the single port of Barranquilla, which was the only port previously open to U.S. exporters,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a statement.
   Paddy rice, or “rough rice,” includes the whole rice grain, along with the hulls. It is harvested directly from rice fields and shipped to processing facilities.
   “As part of the processing, the protective hull is removed, leaving only the actual rice kernel for consumption,” USDA said. “By leaving the sturdy hull on, it is possible to store the kernels for several months without incurring product losses due to spoiling or infestation.”
   The new agreement, combined with preferential access under the 2012 U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA), is expected to further increase U.S. food and agriculture exports to Colombia.
   According to the USDA, Colombia is now the 12th largest U.S. export market for food and agricultural products, with exports valued at more than $2.4 billion in 2016 – a significant increase over exports prior to CTPA, when Colombia ranked as the 26th market for U.S. food and agricultural exports in 2011, with a value of $1.12 billion.
   Exports of milled rice to Colombia have also increased since CTPA entered into force entry into force, now averaging $79 million per year compared to $3 million in 2011.
   Last week, more than two dozen Colombian rice farmers from Fedearroz, the Federation of Colombian Rice Farmers, who were hosted by the trade group USA Rice, traveled to Louisiana and Arkansas to learn about U.S. rice production. The group received an overview of export logistics, freight forwarding, and barge loading from Russell Marine Group in New Orleans and Consolidated Grain and Barge in Memphis.

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