Rice: Stirring Up Trouble in International Trade

Aug 31, 2017 | 09:15 GMT

Global rice exports are currently concentrated among a handful of producers.

The world has consumed rice for centuries, but it has traded the grain for only a fraction of that time. 



  • Among basic commodities, rice is one of the most heavily protected by governments worldwide, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • The global rice market will likely be vulnerable to disruption in the short term as exports remain concentrated among a handful of producers.
  • The rice industry will continue to be a point of contention in international trade negotiations — especially those that involve the United States, the only major rice exporter in which the bulk of the population doesn't consider the grain a dietary staple.

To most of the world, rice is more than just a food; it's a staple of national history and cultural identity. Across South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa, the grain is a key ingredient in the everyday diet and a cornerstone of regional economies. But in addition to being one of the world's most popular commodities, rice is among the most vulnerable. Rice exports are currently concentrated among a handful of producers, protective trade measures are rampant in the sector, and the grain's variants cannot be easily substituted for one another -- all factors that make the industry highly susceptible to disruptions in the market. These risks are unlikely to lessen in the near future, as rice seems all but certain to remain a sticking point in upcoming trade negotiations that involve the United States or its Asian competitors....

Keep Reading

Register to read three free articles

Proceed to sign up

Register Now

Already have an account?

Sign In