U.S. Paddy Allowed Unhindered Access into Colombia

Worth the wait
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BOGOTA, COLOMBIA -- On June 6, 2017, the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) published “Official Resolution #6705 of 2017” which removed a previous resolution that restricted imported U.S. paddy rice to the port of Barranquilla.  The previous resolution also implemented phytosanitary measures for the transportation of U.S. paddy rice and for the management of residues (such as husks) after being milled in Colombia.  These mitigation procedures and restrictions to one port in Colombia are now null and void.

This resolution follows on the heels of a June 1, 2017 resolution which removed the phytosanitary pest Tilletia horrida from Colombia’s official pest list.  ICA conducted a study that found that tilletia horrida is already present in various locations in Colombia.  The study, which collected 54 samples from farms and mills, found tilletia horrida in 92 percent of the collected samples.

“This is excellent and long-awaited news,” said USA Rice Chairman Brian King.  “By removing the restrictions on U.S. paddy rice and allowing it to enter any maritime port, U.S. rice will be more competitive in the Colombian market.”

In June of last year, USA Rice led a trade mission of 10 people to Colombia to meet with ICA and stress the importance of concluding the study in a timely manner and improving access for U.S. rice.  Within three months of the visit, ICA agreed to reduce the mandatory minimum grain moisture content of U.S. rough rice, one of the required mitigation procedures.

“USA Rice has been working with APHIS and FAS since 2012 to remove these restrictions on U.S. paddy,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.  “We are thrilled to see that everyone’s hard work has finally paid off.”

Last year, the U.S. exported 140,000 MT of rice valued at $58 million and more than 40 percent was paddy rice.  Colombia, our 51st largest market prior to the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, has become one of the top fifteen U.S. export markets for the past four years.