Crawford presses U.S. Rice with Iraq
WASHINGTON – Congressman Rick Crawford led members of the House Rice Caucus in calling on Iraq to ease import rules for American rice. Crawford co-founded the Rice Caucus in the United States House of Representatives and took the lead on sending a letter to Iraqi Minister of Trade Khair Alla Babaker asking him to ease import rules for American rice.
“Arkansas’s First Congressional District in the leading rice producing district in the United States. Our producers supply a quality product that is second to none.” said Crawford. “Agriculture is the number one industry in Arkansas’s First District. As a member of the House Agriculture Committee and co-founder of the Rice Caucus in the House of Representatives, I am working encourage fair trade practices so that our farmers can continue producing the safest, most abundant supply of food in the world.”
In the last year U.S. rice exports to Iraq have fallen some 77 percent.
“Iraq has been one of the largest market for U.S. rice up until recently. From 2010 to 2011 U.S. Rice exports to Iraq have fallen 77%,” said Crawford. “In our letter to Iraq’s Minister of Trade, the Rice Caucus is asking for a level playing field so that American rice growers do not have a competitive disadvantage.”
In the letter to Iraq’s Trade Minister, Crawford and other members of the Rice Caucus, pointed to Iraq’s requirement of pre-bagging rice instead of allowing bagging at the destination point as an area where compromise can occur. The letter also asserted the quality standards for chalk content and broken-kernel levels.
“The Rice Caucus will continue efforts to expand trade opportunities with Iraq and other nations. Our producers take great pride in the quality of rice they produce and sell. I am hopeful that Iraq will ease import rules and for American rice.” said Crawford.
Congressman Rick Crawford represents the leading rice producing Congressional district in the United States. He serves on the House Agriculture Committee and he co-founded the Rice Caucus in the United States House of Representatives.