News & Events
More than 160 Japanese buyers, traders and end-users turned out last week to attend the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) 2015 Corn Outlook Conference in Tokyo. A blue-chip panel presented a detailed assessment of the U.S. supply and demand situation, key policy factors influencing the evolution of U.S. agricultural trade policy and the U.S. corn market outlook for 2015.
The release of the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) 2014/2015 Corn Harvest Quality Report has become a globally anticipated event. Within days of its release, the Council started presenting the annual report’s findings to customers in overseas markets to provide them the critical information they need to make informed purchases and build confidence in the quality of this year’s U.S. corn crop.
The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is currently under negotiation, aims to create a comprehensive, high-quality trade liberalization agreement that unites many of the Pacific Rim countries. At the present, 12 nations are involved: the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru and Singapore. These participants account for nearly 40 percent of U.S. agricultural exports, making TPP a highly promising opportunity for expansion of agricultural trade.
With 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) covered by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks, Japan’s coming elections have implications that may shape the world’s economy for years to come.
“If it is done in a forward looking manner, the TPP will be a game changer for U.S. agriculture,” said U.S. Grains Council Chairman Ron Gray. “We realize that the politics of trade are tough, in the United States as well as in a number of other countries. That’s why the upcoming elections in Japan are so important.”
By: Tommy Hamamoto, U.S. Grains Council Director in Japan
The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) recently hosted a series of roundtable discussions and seminars in Japan examining how to properly incorporate low-oil distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) into livestock rations.
Japan is a mature market: a high-income country with a stable and aging population; an excellent, high quality diet; a sophisticated food production and marketing system; and among the highest food safety standards in the world.
The Japanese feed industry is gaining confidence in incorporating the relatively new, low-oil U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) in their livestock rations. Some Japanese livestock producers were concerned about the changing oil content of DDGS due to the increased use of corn oil extraction equipment that removes part of the non-food grade corn oil in the DDGS by U.S. ethanol producers.
A team of nine representatives of the Japanese corn processing industry, feed industry and corn trade is touring the Midwest ahead of Export Exchange 2014, one of 18 trade teams set to travel in the United States before and after the coming conference.
These trips give participants, hailing from more than 30 countries, the opportunity to see firsthand the U.S. coarse grain production and supply systems and, importantly, the current crop quality.
Consumers in Japan are among the most health conscious in the world, and the U.S. Grains Council actively promotes the health benefits of consuming food sorghum from the United States in this market. Last week, the U.S. Grains Council participated in the Health Ingredients Show in Japan, showcasing food products made from U.S. sorghum.
In September, the U.S. Grains Council, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy conducted the first of three initial missions to explore the possibilities for U.S. ethanol exports overseas. The missions will travel to different markets to meet with energy sector leaders and learn about local biofuel and energy needs.
While abroad, the team will explore areas of common interest and the specific biofuel requirements in each region. The team also hopes to demonstrate to contacts the growing affordability of ethanol and its potential as a clean fuel alternative to gasoline.