Congress members urge Iraq to buy US rice
HOUSTON (AP) - Congress members from the largest rice-growing states are urging Iraq to resume buying U.S. long-grain rice, calling the country's standards "unreasonable."
The Associated Press received a copy Friday of a letter the bipartisan group sent to Iraqi Minister of Trade Khair Alla Babaker.
Congress members say there was a 77 percent drop in rice sales to Iraq between 2010 and 2011.
The Iraqi Grain Board has said it decided to buy cheaper basmati rice from India.
But the 12 legislators from Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Texas and Virginia say part of the reason U.S. farmers charge more is the risk involved in meeting Iraq's quality demands.
Some rice farmers say Iraq should buy U.S. rice regardless of price because American lives were lost in the Iraq war.