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U.S. rice eyes first sale to Iraq in 15 years
The United States is at the threshold of selling rice to Iraq for the first time in some 15 years but there are some concerns over delivering the grain in the violence-torn country, industry group officials said on Monday.

"There is a chance we will sell them rice," said Bob Papanos, vice president of the U.S. Rice Producers Association, adding that the United States used to dominate the Iraqi rice market, selling more than 500,000 tonnes a year in the 1980s.

Papanos said U.S. rice sales to Iraq were worth $312 million in 1989, and that sales of 100,000 tonnes this time around would be worth about $40 million.

Baghdad's first tender in the post Saddam Hussein era to buy 50,000 to 100,000 tonnes of U.S. rice closed on Sunday and industry sources said grain exporters had submitted at least three offers to the Iraqi Grain Board.

Some exporters were expecting results of the tender to come as early as this week, while others said it could take more than two weeks based on Iraq's past grain tenders.

Papanos said U.S. rice exports to Iraq topped 500,000 tonnes in 1987, dominating the market through the 1980s until Saddam Hussein closed the country's door to U.S. products in 1990 after his invasion of neighboring Kuwait.

He said the first sale since then could pave the way for the United States to once again dominate Iraq's rice sector, which imports about 1 million tonnes a year.
MGR Archive 16.12.2004
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Russia Rapan $ 700
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USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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