The Archer Daniels Midland Company has sold and shipped 20 metric tons of U.S. rice to China, according to the USA Rice Federation and government officials.

The shipment of Calrose medium grain rice — the first ever successful commercial sale to China — was cleared at the port of Xiamen, China, Tuesday and is in the hands of the importers, sources tell Agri-Pulse.

"We are pleased to see the first shipment to China of U.S.-grown rice take place following the U.S.-China Phase One Agreement in January, calling for U.S. commodity purchases, including rice," said Bobby Hanks, chairman of USA Rice. "We hope to see more buyers, both private and government, step forward to purchase U.S. rice. As a reliable supplier with high quality long, medium, and short grain, the U.S. is well positioned to help fill some of the import demand in China moving forward."

The purchaser is the Chinese retail chain Sungiven, according to USA Rice.

China agreed to buy U.S. rice this year under the “phase one” trade pact that was signed in January and implemented by both countries in February, but the amount has not been disclosed.

USDA Trade Undersecretary Ted McKinney reached out to Chinese buyers Monday night to encourage trade.

“We want you to know that this administration and everyone at USDA is going to continue doing all that we can to support the ‘phase one’ trade deal … and thus grow the opportunity for our countries to solidify this deal through the sales of agricultural commodities, especially rice,” McKinney said in a webinar hosted by the USA Rice Federation and aimed primarily at Chinese importers. “I’m confident that U.S. rice will be an attractive option for Chinese traders, importer, distributors, retailers and, perhaps most importantly, your consumers.”

McKinney emphasized the Chinese government’s exclusion process that buyers can use to avoid the 25% retaliatory tariff and stressed the quality and reliability of U.S. rice.

A previous version of this story reported a shipment of 20,000 metric tons of rice. The story has been corrected to note the shipment was 20 metric tons. 

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