COVID-19 slows imports of US rice from South Korea

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SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – COVID-19 issues slowed tender process for South Korea’s rice and purchase of US rice, Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report says from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

As part of South Korea’s tariff rate quota (TRQ) purchase plan, the country will purchase 408,700 tonnes of milled rice. South Korea has a country specific quota for five rice exporters:

  • United States: 132,304 tonnes
  • China: 157,195 tonnes
  • Vietnam: 55,112 tonnes
  • Thailand: 28,494 tonnes
  • Australia: 15,595 tonnes

So far, South Korea has purchased 205,106 tonnes, or about 50% of the total 2021 TRQ. The USDA has noted that actual delivery for the remainder of the TRQ is expected to occur in the first half of 2022. .

But as of June 2021, the tendering process has been slowed down due to issues related to COVID-19. The USDA estimates that the United States sold about 31%, or 41,500 tonnes, of milled rice to South Korea.

The Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation (aT) plans to hold tenders targeting the new crop of US medium rice that will be delivered in the first half of 2022 to fill the 2021 tariff quota.

USDA’s projections for MY 2021-22 for South Korea’s rice production, consumption and imports remain unchanged from April’s previous GAIN 2021 report:

  • Production: 3.8 million tonnes
  • Consumption: 3.84 million tonnes
  • Imports: 410,000 tonnes
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