Print PDF

Global Rice Market Marked by Low Trade, Heavy Government Intervention, ITC Finds

Friday, May 15, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

A new report from the International Trade Commission finds that the global rice market is characterized by relatively low trading volumes and heavy government intervention in both imports and exports. This report provides an overview of the rice industry in the U.S. and other major global producing and exporting countries, information on recent trade trends and developments in the global market for rice, a comparison of the competitive strengths and weaknesses of rice production and exports in the U.S. and other major exporting countries, a quantitative assessment of the impact of government policies and programs of major producing and exporting countries, and an overview of the impact on the U.S. rice industry of rice exports from the highlighted countries to the U.S. and to traditional markets of the U.S.

Highlights of the report include the following.

- Exports only account for eight percent of global rice production, significantly less than for other grains and oilseeds.

- Government intervention is often aimed at keeping prices affordable, especially for low-income consumers, but may also encourage domestic production to promote national self-sufficiency.

- Global rice production and consumption are highly concentrated in Asia, where rice is the primary staple food for most of the population.

- The top three worldwide exporters of rice are India, Thailand and Vietnam, followed by Pakistan and the United States.

- Of government policies for rice in place in 2013, import tariffs in major consuming countries had the largest impact on U.S. production and exports.

- The U.S. faces little direct competition in its domestic market but in recent years has lost market share in key export markets such as Mexico, Central America, the European Union, Haiti and Ghana. The U.S. exports about 50 percent of its production.

- Countries that are both major rice consumers and surplus producers, such as India and Thailand, typically provide support for rice producers and consumers and impose export controls if prices rise.

- Countries that are principally rice consuming and importing countries, such as Indonesia and the Philippines, typically provide support for rice producers and consumers and maintain control of rice imports, generally through state trading.

- Countries that are major exporters of rice but not major consumers, such as the U.S. and Uruguay, typically provide less extensive support for rice producers than do major consuming countries.

- Low-cost producers of long grain white rice (the most-commonly traded rice type and form) include Burma, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Uruguay, and Vietnam, while the most highly reliable exporters of long grain white rice include Uruguay and the U.S.

To get news like this in your inbox daily, subscribe to the Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report.

Customs & International Headlines