What about U.S. rice going into China?

“The protocol for rice and cottonseed is now back with the Chinese government. It’s been there a month and we haven’t heard anything yet. Once they approve that, American rice could head to China. Uruguay, I believe, is the only country in the Americas that can sell rice to China now.

“If 10 percent of the Chinese rice market was eventually imported, it would mean 15 million tons. That’s about 40 percent of the world trade. These are real possibilities.

“The fact is, we don’t know how much rice the Chinese are already importing. One of the top experts in the Far East, a good friend from Vietnam, tells me he’s tearing his hair out trying to find out how much they’re importing.

“I believe China has been importing much larger quantities of rice than they’ve admitted for years -- at least since the 1980s. Most of that is coming out of Burma. Rice is the only internationally-watched commodity that we have no idea how much China is buying, or will buy.

“There’s an awful lot of mystery. Rice stock numbers are a military secret in China. One doesn’t know what they have.”

Any indication when Chinese decision will come down?

“The Chinese are first-class businessmen but they’re also political-minded. In the U.S., businessmen typically just think about getting the deal done. Not in China, and that’s very difficult for us to read – they want to make a buck but also want to balance that with Communist Party desires. That’s just the way it is and it’s very confusing for us.

“They’re very slow and methodical and always think in the long-term. There’s a proverb: ‘Those who do not pay attention to the far away will have trouble in the nearby.’

“I’m told the only hold up is down to bugs. If that issue can be overcome, the trade will come.”

Is China gearing up to import U.S. rice? http://deltafarmpress.com/rice/china-gearing-import-us-rice

Producers group works to open Chinese market to U.S. rice http://deltafarmpress.com/producers-group-works-open-chinese-market-us-rice

U.S. rice to hit Chinese supermarket shelves in 2013?

http://deltafarmpress.com/rice/us-rice-hit-chinese-supermarket-shelves-2013

If the deal goes through, would you expect more short- or medium-grain rice to be grown in the Mid-South?

“That’s a very interesting question. There’s a very strong demand for short-grain rice in China. A lot depends on how much they like Jupiter, a medium grain rice. It also depends whether they like our Southern-grown long grain. Other than Jupiter in the South, there is a shortage of California Calrose rice this year due to the drought.”

Next: How Hamilton sees India’s future shaping up.