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Last Updated:[23-12-2010 23:39:38 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

US Rice Farmers Let down by South Korea FTA

tradenews A senior official from the US Rice Federation informed in an interview that the recent FTA between the US and South Korea had been a disappointment. While speaking to the Farm Press, Bob Cummings, senior vice president of the Rice Federation of the US said Were deeply disappointed that rice was excluded from this trade agreement. As a result, we dont support the trade agreement.

Nevertheless, he observed that the rice farmers were looking forward to other two long standing FTAs with Columbia and Panama. He said they nursed some hope on improvements in regards to South Korea rice trade only through next Doha Rounds as was in the past rice got some limited access to Korea about five years ago when the WTO intervened.

Cummings indicated that the Federation would lobby hard to get the US-Columbia FTA ratified soon as the agreement had some good provisions for the US rice. He updated the Farmers Press that rice had made some benefits in the Columbia deal.

In retrospection to the probable non-inclusion of rice in the US-South Korea FTA which was triggered by the 2006 discovery of traces of unapproved Bayer GM traits in the US rice supply, the US Rice Federation filedamicus curiaebrief in support of verdicts handed down in GM-tainted rice cases. The action was in response to Bayer CropSciences appeal of two of those verdicts.

Despite FDA assurances that the rice remained safe for consumption, markets quickly sank as countries rejected loads of US rice. In the following weeks, as potential earnings slipped away, thousands of rice-growing farmers filed lawsuits against Bayer.

The recent Rice Federation statement about the brief said two separate federal juries awarded damages to groups of Arkansas and Missouri farmers. Cummings clarified that the Rice Fed was not party to any litigation, but he personally had testified in several trials at the request of plaintiffs or growers engaged in lawsuits against Bayer CropScience.

By Jose Roy

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