After years of negotiation, South Korea has agreed to U.S. demands to set up a quota to ensure imports of U.S. rice, the Trump administration announced Tuesday.

Beginning next year, South Korea will buy a minimum of 132,304 metric tons of U.S. rice, annually. About four years ago South Korea terminated its quota for U.S. rice, replacing it with a TRQ open to all WTO countries. U.S. rice growers had hoped to get back a country-specific quota when the two nations began renegotiating their free trade pact (KORUS) in 2017, but that didn’t happen.

"This agreement gives our farmers the largest volume of guaranteed market access for rice in Korea that the United States has ever enjoyed," U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement. “It will prove enormously beneficial for American producers and their customers in Korea, who will enjoy access to high quality and cost competitive U.S. rice."

The USA Rice Federation says the new quota agreement will be signed in December and go into effect Jan. 1. “The industry and U.S. government have spent the better part of five years working to finalize this agreement with Korea, so we are pleased to see it come to fruition," said Michael Rue, chairman of the USA Rice Asia Trade Policy Subcommittee.

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