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Letlow Calls on Ambassador to Restore Trade with Iraq for U.S. Rice

May 5, 2021


Congresswoman Julia Letlow (LA-05) today urged U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller to help restore a trade relationship between the United States and Iraq to purchase U.S. rice.

“Given favorable market conditions and ample supply of high-quality U.S. grown rice for a successful tender, I encourage you to continue to work with the Iraqi Minister of Trade and the Iraqi Grain Board to uphold the agreements put forth by the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and successfully conclude a U.S. only MOU tender,” Letlow wrote.

Letlow, who serves on the House Committee on Agriculture, pointed out that the United States has successfully shipped 390,000 metric tons of U.S. rice to Iraq since the MOU was first signed in 2016, with the last purchase of 60,000 metric tons occurring in July 2019. This February, Iraq’s Ministry of Trade issued an international tender to buy 60,000 metric tons of rice which was awarded to Uruguay and more recently agreed to purchase 30,000 metric tons of rice from Pakistan.

Letlow expressed that rice is one of Louisiana’s top agricultural exports, generating more than $308 million in economic impact for the state’s rural economies. She also noted that all Iraqi rice sales have been exported through the Port of Lake Charles, which would benefit greatly from additional exports to Iraq after the devasting impact to the state from Hurricane Laura in August of last year.

“Given that our U.S. exports dropped significantly in 2020, the U.S. rice industry is eager to rekindle a trade relationship with Iraq,” Letlow said, calling the relationship vital for rice farmers and the American rural economy.