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Image of Port of Oakland should gain as China opens rice market to U.S.

Port of Oakland should gain as China opens rice market to U.S.

Nation's export leader has chance to strengthen link in global food chain

Press Releases, Seaport
August 3rd, 2017

Oakland, Calif. – Aug. 3, 2017: A new U.S.-China trade pact should increase rice exports here, the Port of Oakland said today.  The deal opening China’s market to American growers will likely strengthen Oakland’s link in the global food chain.

American rice exports could enter China as soon as 2018 following approval of a trade agreement last month.  The Port said it’s too soon to estimate how much its business would increase.  It added, however, that volumes should rise based on three factors:

  • California’s Sacramento Valley is one of the largest rice producing regions in the U.S.  The Port of Oakland is the nearest gateway to China for containerized rice exports from the valley.
  • Oakland is already the nation’s leader, shipping two-thirds of all U.S. containerized rice exports.
  • There’s no faster, more direct route from the U.S. to China than 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,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll.  “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.  That makes American products more affordable overseas.  As a result, U.S. exports including rice are likely to grow.

Oakland exports were already forecast to rise next year based on another American-grown product: meat.  The Port expects to open a 300,000-square-foot refrigerated distribution center next summer for chilled and frozen beef, pork and poultry.  That plant will prepare up to 37,000 20-foot containers of product for export annually.

In January, the Port reported a 233 percent increase in agricultural export tonnage over the past five years.  It said growing rice and meat shipments would magnify Oakland’s importance as an international food distribution hub.

About the Port of Oakland:
The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland seaport, Oakland International Airport, and 20 miles of waterfront. Together with its business partners, the Port supports more than 73,000 jobs in the region and nearly 827,000 jobs across the United States. Connect with the Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport through Facebook, or with the Port on Twitter, YouTube, and at www.portofoakland.com

Media Contacts:
Mike Zampa,
Communications Director
Port of Oakland
(510) 627-1565
mzampa@portoakland.com

Marilyn Sandifur,
Port Spokesperson
Port of Oakland
(510) 627-1193
msandifur@portoakland.com

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