News & Events
WASHINGTON, D.C., December 6, 2010 – “The U.S. Grains Council congratulates the U.S. Administration on achieving a historical and precedent-setting agreement with Korea, the most expansive U.S. trade deal since the North American Free Trade Agreement. The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement provides significant benefits for U.S. agricultural trade and the U.S. economy. It will immediately open new opportunities for significant increases in U.S. agricultural exports, which will generate income and jobs here at home.
With Central American feed millers producing approximately 300,000 metric tons of aquaculture feed annually, the U.S. Grains Council recently hosted three of the region’s major feed producers for a seminar on the use of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) in aquaculture diets.
Brewing industry representatives from Costa Rica and Guatemala participated in a U.S. Grains Council-sponsored barley quality tour recently in North Dakota and Montana.
Colombian Ambassador to the United States, Carolina Barco, told attendees of the U.S. Grains Council’s 50th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting that U.S. agricultural exports to Colombia have dropped dramatically, with significant market share loss due to the non-ratified U.S.- Colombia free trade agreement (FTA).
The U.S. Grains Council hosted 21 representatives from the Central American feed industry to attend a course in quality control offered by the International Grains Program at Kansas State University. In response to concerns about U.S. corn quality, the Council invited participants from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama to participate in a training program on the U.S. Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) grain inspection program.
Importing 2.4 million metric tons (94.5 million bushels) of U.S. corn in 2009, Central America remains a key market for U.S. producers.
As part of the U.S. Grains Council’s marketing strategy, the Council recently sent a grain storage science specialist to Panama and Guatemala to respond to complaints about the quality of U.S. grain shipments to each country.
By Terry Vinduska, U.S. Grains Council Vice Chairman
This month I had the opportunity to travel to Colombia, Panama and the Dominican Republic with the U.S. Grains Council where I saw firsthand the damaging impact of the unsigned Colombian free trade pact. The failure of the United States to ratify the Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA)cost the U.S. corn sector $314 million in lost corn sales to Colombia from 2008 to 2009.
U.S. Grains Council Chairman Rick Fruth Friday announced the official opening of the Council’s newest international office in Panama City, Panama. The USGC Latin America and Caribbean Region office represents a key presence in the region as the Council continues its work of Developing Markets, Enabling Trade and Improving Lives.
As part its mission of Developing Markets, Enabling Trade and Improving Lives, the U.S. Grains Council continuously seeks market opportunities for U.S. corn, sorghum, barley and their co-products around the world. The snack foods industry in Central America is a growing and vital market segment. Due to relations made at the USGC 2009 International Marketing Conference, several teams made of Central American snack food industry representatives have traveled throughout the United States for training sessions and market insights on U.S. corn, barley and sorghum production.
Without free trade agreements (FTAs) between the United States and markets in Latin America and Southeast Asia, the United States risks losing export competitiveness, warned U.S. Grains Council directors during the 7th International Marketing Conference. "One of the biggest threats facing the United States is the fact that pending FTAs with Colombia and Panama have not been ratified," said Kurt Shultz, USGC regional director in Panama.