WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The U.S. rice industry is engaging with Colombian officials to ensure procedures are in place to take advantage of the duty-free tariff rate quota (TRQ) for U.S. rice as soon as the free trade agreement comes into force, USA Rice said on March 20.

The industry has met with its Colombian counterparts, the U.S. embassy in Colombia and Colombian government officials.

The TRQ for U.S. rice, initially set in year one at 79,000 tonnes, milled equivalent, will be managed by a U.S.-based export trading company.  A U.S. rice delegation led by Michael Rue, California producer and chairman of USA Rice's Colombia TRQ Task Force, and including USA Rice Federation Chief Operating Officer Bob Cummings and Alice Gomez of Cornerstone Government Affairs on behalf of the US Rice Producers Association, will travel to Colombia on March 21 to meet with Fedearroz, Colombia's association of rice producers, and Colombian government officials.  

This trip follows a similar activity earlier in March when the delegation met with U.S. embassy officials, Colombian government representatives from the Agriculture and Commerce ministries, Colombian customs, and Induarroz, the association of Colombia's rice millers. U.S. rice industry discussions on implementation issues are expected to continue shortly after the March 21 meetings.