Historically, export sales dominated shipments of California rice with 65% of the state’s production being exported.
Significant increases in U.S. table rice consumption of California rice and demand for rice as a food ingredient have reduced the state's export share over the last 20 years to approximately 40% of the state’s production.
In the mid-1990’s the World Trade Organization entered into a trade agreement to lower trade barriers worldwide. As part of this process, the countries of Japan, Korea and Taiwan negotiated the right to continue their protected rice markets but agreed to “minimum access” importation of rice. This constitutes nearly 500,000 Metric Tons of rice annually from the U.S. and approaches 25% of California’s production.