U.S. Government Actions Affecting Rice Sales to Korea

ID-83-48: Published: May 18, 1983. Publicly Released: May 31, 1983.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the actions of Government agencies concerning Japanese and commercial U.S. sales of rice to Korea.

U.S. Government officials believe that the 1980 U.S.-Japan Rice Understanding achieved its purpose of limiting Japanese subsidized exports which were detrimental to U.S. rice producers and exporters. However, GAO noted that other concerned parties expressed dissatisfaction with ambiguities in the exchange of letters that constitute the understanding. Under the emergency clause of the understanding, exceptions were granted which allowed Japan to sell more than 2 million tons of rice to Korea in 1980-1981. GAO found that there was no documentation evidencing who approved the exceptions or what factors were considered and no written agreement as to the future actions by the United States, Japan, and Korea regarding exceptions. Further, GAO found that difficulties and delays affected the 1981 rice commitment. GAO believes that any future agreements should have greater specificity. However, GAO stated that there does not appear to be a need at this time for a more formal framework among the Departments of Agriculture and State and the U.S. Trade Representative concerning actions related to the understanding.

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