According to The Nikkei, US and China are wrapping up talks on rice exports, China lifting its import embargo on American rice.

The US plans to ship 50,000 tons of rice annually, including long-grain rice and short-grain Koshihikari variety produced in California, which will drive market competition with Japan’s domestically grown rice. American rice is cheaper than Japanese rice, which sells for 300 yen per kilo, foretelling a strong demand from China.

China, the world’s largest rice market, consumed 135 million tons of rice in 2011, importing from Thailand and Vietnam, where rice is cheaper. However, with rising food-safety awareness among Chinese consumers, demand for high-quality US rice will likely increase.

Thailand and Vietnam are the main exporters of rice to China, while the US and Japan are closely competing to tap the Chinese rice market. US rice production reached 8.4 million tons in 2011 and it exports around 40% of that.