La. rice industry weighs in on phase one of trade agreement with China

State News

CROWLEY, La. (KLFY)- President Donald Trump signed a trade agreement with China Wednesday committing the country to purchase hundreds of billions of dollars in American goods and services.

This agreement opens the door for the United States to ship rice to China.

“It’s a big deal for the rice industry as a whole. Fifty percent of the U.S. rice is exported so any export markets out there is a big deal and so China is a big buyer,” Robert Trahan, director of sales and business development with Falcon Rice Mill, said.

The trade agreement is phase one in a two-part negotiation.

For the rice industry, this helps create a demand in the market.

“Far beyond this deal, it’s going to lead to even more world peace. We now have a big investment in each other,” said President Trump.

Trahan added, “Our mill specifically is domestic, but most of the mills sell internationally so we all have to move the crop somehow and so this thing is a big, big deal for the industry. Time will tell. China is a new market so as soon as they start buying rice that would be good.”

Louisiana grows about 400,000 acres of rice.

“Fifty percent of the U.S. crop is exported and in Louisiana, it’s probably even more. It’s probably 60 or 70% of the crop is exported so any market out there outside of the United States that’s opened up for us is a big deal. It helps get the rice moved. It creates demand and creates better prices,” explained Trahan.

Louisiana is the third-largest rice producing state in the country.

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