Brexit Creates Opportunities to Export Mississippi Rice to United Kingdom, Senators Assert

U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today encouraged the Trump Administration to promote increased market access for U.S.-grown rice in trade agreement negotiations with the United Kingdom (U.K.).

The Mississippi Senators are among a group of Senators from rice-producing states who have signed a letter that encourages U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer “to take advantage of the rice demand in the U.K. to achieve increased market access for U.S.-grown rice through your upcoming negotiations.”

“Given market demand and existing relationships with Britain’s importers, the U.S. rice industry stands ready to regain significant market share through these negotiations.  Restoring this important export market would have a remarkably positive economic impact throughout rice country, which, like the rest of the agricultural economy, has been struggling in recent years,” the Senators wrote in the letter.

In the wake of the recent U.K. exit from the European Union (EU), the Trump administration has set a goal to negotiate a new trade agreement with the U.K. by the end of the year.  For more than a decade, the EU severely limited market access for U.S.-grown rice.  Prior to 2007, the U.K. was one of the largest export destinations for American rice.

The Mississippi Delta is a key rice-producing region, with more than 10.1 million hundredweight produced in 2018.

The letter to Lighthizer was led by Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.) and also signed by Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.).

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Release from Senators Wicker and Hyde-Smith.