Building the Partnership with China
- Published on Thursday, 03 October 2013 21:02
China continues to develop as the world's biggest growth market for agricultural products. The U.S. Grains Council has invested more than 30 years in supporting the modernization of China's meat and dairy industries and in opening the Chinese market to U.S. coarse grains. Last week, USGC Chairman Julius Schaaf and Secretary-Treasurer Alan Tiemann returned to China to assess current developments and strengthen the Council's long-standing partnership.
"We joined the Council's 2013 Corn Tour in northeast China," said Tiemann. "This is our annual assessment of the current harvest, with teams of experienced independent analysts and China market experts from major trading companies. And it's clear from what we saw across the major corn growing region is that China is headed for another very good crop."
Schaaf agreed. "China is the world's second-leading corn producer," Schaaf said, "and 2013 is shaping up as a great year for them. The other side of the equation, of course, is demand."
Schaaf's remarks echoed discussions at a conference in Qingdao on China's supply-demand situation, and at the 2013 U.S.-China Swine Industry Forum in Beijing, which was cosponsored by the Council. Schaaf and USGC China Director Bryan Lohmar participated in a panel on the future of U.S.-China agricultural cooperation, and especially the current evolution of China's food safety systems.
"It's probably just a bump in the road, but most of the people we met in Qingdao and Beijing believed consumer demand for meat has slumped it and feed demand has softened," Schaaf said. "The open question for the market is what the Chinese government is doing with reserves. China's domestic corn prices are still high, so there is still an economic incentive for imports."
China last year was the third-leading importer of U.S. corn and the number one importer of U.S. distiller's dried grains with solubles. China has also recently begun to import significant quantities of U.S. sorghum, which is not subject to import quotas. The Council is working aggressively to expand opportunities for U.S. exporters in all of these sectors.