On Friday May 3, Dwight Roberts, CEO and President of US Rice Producers Association and Alice Gomez of Cornerstone Government Affairs met with Central American and Dominican Republic rice producers and processors represented by FECARROZ along with USA Rice Federation to discuss the proposal to modify terms of the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) affecting trade in rice.
The parties met specifically to discuss Article 3.18 of CAFTA-DR, which provides that CAFTA-DR countries shall establish an Agriculture Review Commission this year to review the implementation and operation of the Agreement as it relates to trade in agricultural goods. Among its responsibilities, the Agriculture Review Commission shall evaluate the effects of trade liberalization under CAFTA-DR and developments in world agricultural markets. As part of the meeting, USRPA, FECARROZ, and USARF agreed to issue a joint statement supporting the establishment of the Agriculture Review Commission. Moreover, USRPA and USARF agreed to jointly petition the U.S. Government to take the necessary steps to establish the CAFTA-DR Agriculture Review Commission.
“USRPA views the Agriculture Review Commission process as an opportunity to ensure that U.S. rice farmers will continue to enjoy the strong partnership we currently experience with our Central American business partners,” Roberts commented. “We take the proposal to modify CAFTA-DR duty free trade in rice with all seriousness and will work collaboratively with the Dominican Republic-Central American rice industry to find a solution that maintains a win-win for both sides.”
USRPA plans to meet with members of FECARROZ next at RMTC in New Orleans on June 5.