I was a lifelong Republican until 2017. Now I’m an Independent. However, many of my friends and family members remain Republicans. Thus, I see a lot of Republican memes on my Facebook feed. I enjoyed the Trump Sells Rice To China meme more than most. Since this is a Meme Busters post, we’ll see if it’s true. Then, we’ll talk about why it’s so fun.
Trump sells rice to China. Or does he?
Reuters originally posted about China’s opening to U.S. rice imports in January. It’s not quite as sexy as the meme implies. If you’re defining “sells” by any traditional metric, the meme is inaccurate.
It was not immediately clear how much rice China, which sources rice imports from within Asia, might seek to buy from the United States.
So no, there wasn’t a sale. That said, it is a new market for American rice producers. However, they seemed largely unimpressed.
U.S. rice futures had little reaction to the announcement, declining by 7 cents to $10.06 per cwt.
The article says American rice is expensive compared to Asian competitors. Thus, they don’t expect a high volume of rice imports from the US.
Officials at a government-affiliated think tank in Beijing said the price of U.S. rice was not competitive, compared with imports from South Asia, and said the move to formally permit imports from the United States should be interpreted as a goodwill gesture.
So no, the meme isn’t correct. That said, it’s not flagrantly off. President Trump landed a concession that involved both rice and China. I would rate it “misleading”.
The article states that China imports 5 million tonnes of rice. The United States produces just under 7 million tonnes annually. This leads us to the fun part.
Why I love the “Trump sells rice to China” memes.
I’m not a native southerner. I’m pretty sure I know the correct operative phrase here, however.
Bless their hearts!
“Trump sells rice to China” is based on an idiom. “Sells ice to eskimos” means to get someone to accept something unnecessary or preposterous. This is literally the opposite.
Eskimos have a virtually limitless supply of ice. Moreover, they have little need for refrigeration. Thus, it takes a great salesperson to sell ice to eskimos.
Rice, on the other hand, is a crop. It must be planted, grown, and harvested. It doesn’t rain rice in China. A rice fairy doesn’t fill baskets left overnight on porches in China. I didn’t Google that one, but I’m 90% sure of that. China imports 5 million tonnes of rice annually. Thus, selling rice to China isn’t exactly an example of a tough sale. They’re shopping. It’s on the shelf. It literally sells itself. China is the world’s largest importer of rice.
That said, President Trump is the first President to open that door. It’s not a sale, but it could lead to one. Similarly, I haven’t received an award yet for ignoring the “denuclearized North Korea” part of that second meme. However, this article could lead to one.