While the United States pulled out of the “Trans-Pacific Partnership” (CPATPP) agreement negotiations at the beginning of the Trump Administration, Mexico and a number of other countries did not. Among the eleven countries that signed the agreement in March of 2018, making it effective on December 30, 2018, are Vietnam and Mexico, along with Canada, Peru and Chile in the Western Hemisphere. 

The bottom line effect on rice means that Vietnam, well-known for low prices and non-compliance with WTO regulations, will have duty-free access to Mexico, the most important long-grain market for U.S. rice farmers, after only a 10-year phase-in period. 

This week, Pedro Schettino, owner of Schettino Hermanos rice company and a major buyer of U.S. rice, visited Louisiana where he met with Governor John Bel Edwards and South Louisiana rice farmers. 

“Everyone in Mexico and the United States, both rice farmers and mills must realize the devastating effect this will have on the rice industries of the two countries,” informed Mr. Schettino, adding “we must find new approaches to maintaining our unique rice trade relationships.” 

After a visit with the Louisiana Governor and Mark Pousson of the Louisiana Independent Rice Producers Association (LIRPA), Mr. Schettino visited the South Louisiana Rail Facility in Lacassine and area rice farms where he met with numerous farmers and Dwight Roberts of the US Rice Producers Association (USRPA).

“I applaud Mr. Schettino’s visit and initiative regarding TPP and calling attention to what should be a very serious concern to all long-grain rice farmers and mills in both countries. His efforts on behalf of all Mexican rice farmers and millers is commendable”, says Roberts. 

“Research efforts by the USA Rice Federation clearly indicate a range of trade-distorting practices that exceed WTO obligations, so it’s imperative that meaningful actions are taken,” Roberts added. Pedro Schettino also visited Supreme Rice Mill during his visit to Louisiana which was hosted and coordinated by both LIRPA and the USRPA.

From left: Pedro Schettino, Jr. and Pedro Schettino enjoy a visit to the office of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, accompanied by Mark Pousson of LIRPA.
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