USDA Trade Mission to Japan Capitalizes on Strong Trade Ties

    USDA's Alexis Taylor in the lead in Japan (USA Rice)

    TOKYO & OSAKA, JAPAN – USA Rice participated in the USDA Agribusiness Trade Mission here this week, along with 11 state departments of agriculture, including California, and dozens of companies including USA Rice member American Commodity Company. The delegation met with various Japanese buyers seeking to import American products; importers and wholesalers using U.S. rice were pleased to hear about the rebound in California’s rice production.

    “As one of the largest world economies, Japan is one of the top and most reliable trading partners for the United States,” said Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor, who led the delegation. “Every year for over the past two decades, Japan has imported at least $10 billion worth of U.S. food and agriculture products, reaching a record-high $14.6 billion in 2022. This shows that there is a continuously growing demand for U.S. products in Japan, providing U.S. exporters with a tremendous opportunity to expand their exporting.”

    “Even though the population in Japan is decreasing and on average, Japanese eat about 1,000 less calories than Americans per day, their per capita rice consumption is more than 100 pounds so Japan continues to be a strong market for U.S. rice,” said Sarah Moran, USA Rice vice president international who participated in the trade mission.

    Japan was the largest U.S. rice export market by value in 2022, at $293 million, and is the largest market in the first four months of 2023, at $133 million. There continues to be robust demand for high quality U.S. rice within the foodservice sector and more recently in the retail sector as well.

    “We visited several factories utilizing U.S. products, including food oil and confectionary companies,” said Moran. “For example, Glico, a company that is more than 100 years old and makes the popular Pocky chocolate biscuit sticks expressed interest in expanding their use of rice and rice flour in some of their product lines.”

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