China has agreed on a protocol to allow imports of U.S. rice, according to a statement released on Thursday by a Chinese delegate to the first China-U.S. Comprehensive Economic Dialogue (CED) in Washington, D.C..
The U.S. can begin shipping rice to China for the first time, after China completes an audit of U.S. rice facilities, the US Department of Agriculture announced.
The move would give U.S. farmers access to the world's largest consumer market and importer of rice following over a decade trade talks between the two countries.
China has a growing appetite for rice imports, with the number dramatically up in the past decade and reaching 3.4 million metric tons in 2015. However, U.S. farmers will have to compete with those in Vietnam, Thailand and Pakistan, the biggest rice
The rice agreement is a sign of strengthening China-U.S. relations on agriculture trade. It comes just a month after China resumed imports of U.S. beef.
During the CED, China and the U.S. reached agreements on agricultural cooperation, and both sides exchanged views on exports of China's dairy products and aquatic products to the U.S..
The CED was one of the four major dialogue mechanisms established by the two countries in April when Chinese President Xi Jinping met US President Donald Trump in Palm Beach, Florida.