South Korea agrees to open market to US rice worth $110M per year

Historic market access, U.S. trade officials say.

South Korea agreed to give the U.S. market access for approximately $110 million worth of rice a year, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday.

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"Thanks to President Trump's leadership, this agreement gives our farmers the largest volume of guaranteed market access for rice in Korea that the United States has ever enjoyed," 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 agreement providing access for 143,304 tons of rice annually will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

"This announcement continues the Trump administration's aggressive promotion of U.S. exports," Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., told FOX Business in a statement. "Since Arkansas leads the country in rice production, I hope to see even more international markets open up to allow our industry to thrive. I thank Trade Representative Lighthizer and Agriculture Secretary Perdue for their commitment to American agriculture."

Tuesday's agreement comes as the U.S. global trade landscape is in an uncertain place. The Trump administration is trying to make progress in negotiations with China and convince Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

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The uncertainty combined with tariffs hasn't been good for farmers' bottom lines.

President Trump said Friday a new round of payments would go out to farmers caught up in the China trade war.

"Our great Farmers will recieve [sic] another major round of 'cash,' compliments of China Tariffs, prior to Thanksgiving," Trump wrote on Twitter. "The smaller farms and farmers will be big beneficiaries."

"In the meantime, and as you may have noticed, China is starting to buy big again," he continued. "Japan deal DONE. Enjoy!"

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