WASHINGTON: The Port of Oakland believes a new trade pact with China will benefit its export business and provide more opportunities for truckers to haul rice to export overseas.
American rice exports could enter China as soon as 2018 after approval of a trade agreement last month. Port officials have said it is too soon to estimate how much business would increase, but they believe there will be a benefit because the Sacramento Valley is one of the largest rice-producing regions in the United States, and two-thirds of all containerized rice exports leave through Oakland. “We’re glad a rice agreement has been reached because there’s strong demand for high-quality U.S. food products in China,” Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll said. “Given our location and track record with agricultural exports, we would hope to play a role in this new trade breakthrough.” The China trade deal comes as the U.S. dollar is softening against foreign currencies, which means that other countries can purchase American-made products at a cheaper price than in the past. In January, the Port of Oakland reported a 233% increase in agricultural export tonnage over the past five years, led by rice and meat shipments.