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Strong domestic demand helps sale of U.S. rice in S. Korea
SEOUL, July 2 (Yonhap) -- Strong demand is helping the sale of U.S. rice imported under the World Trade Organization-imposed import quota system, a state-run agriculture marketing company said Monday.

Under a 2004 deal with the United States, Thailand and seven other rice exporters, South Korea must import certain amounts of rice from 2005 to 2014 in exchange for keeping its tariff quota waiver. The amounts should rise gradually each year.

The pact requires South Korea to import rice from abroad equivalent to 4.40 percent of its domestic consumption, or 225,575 tons in 2005. The amount rises to to 7.96 percent, or 408,700 tons in 2014.

Of the total, roughly 10 percent must be sold directly to consumers, including restaurants and catering services, with this percentage rising to 30 percent in 2010.

The state-run Agriculture and Fisheries Marketing Corp. (AFMC) said American rice imported this year was all sold out, because it is cheaper and higher in quality.

"We are having hard time selling Chinese rice because consumers have raised complaints about quality," said an AFMC official, adding that demand for Thai rice has been weak since last year, because local people generally do not like rice from Southeast Asia.

The corporation said that all 4,162 tons of rice imported from the United States this year were sold out by June. Last year, the corporation needed seven months to sell off 5,504 tons of California Calrose rice which was low in quality.

Reflecting its high demand by locals, the average price of a 20-kilogram sack of U.S. rice rose to 24,220 won, up 22.2 percent compared to last year when the average price was 19,820 won. American rice is usually 30-35 percent cheaper than home-grown rice and is popular with restaurants.
MGR Archive 3.7.2007
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Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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