A USA Rice Federation delegation met this week with officials from the European Commission and representatives of Europe’s grain traders as part of the effort to reopen the EU market to U.S. long-grain rice.

Marvin Baden, vice president, Producers’ Rice Mill, and chairman of the USA Rice EU trade policy subcommittee, and Bob Cummings, USA Rice senior vice president, met with officials from DG SANCO (responsible for food safety and biotechnology), DG Trade, and DG Agriculture plus COCERAL, the trade association of the European grain trade.

With the 2007 U.S. harvest under way, Baden and Cummings reviewed the rice industry’s seed plan, criteria for assessing the success of the plan, and steps necessary to resume U.S. long-grain exports to the EU.

USA Rice stressed the need for the EU to remove the current emergency regulation mandating destination testing of U.S. long-grain rice. Discussions included developing a common sampling and testing protocol to establish the absence of the Liberty Link 601 trait before U.S. rice is shipped.

USA Rice is also seeking direct involvement by USDA and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to negotiate any necessary government-to-government agreements to return U.S. long-grain rice to this important market.