The leaders of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) traveled to South Korea and Mexico this week in concurrent missions to engage with customers and government officials during a period of policy uncertainty in the U.S. corn industry’s #1 and #3 markets.
Trade teams from South Korea have met face-to-face with U.S. farmers and grain suppliers in eight states in the last three months - all part of work by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) to secure and expand U.S. exports to the third largest market for U.S. corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS).
A statement from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC):
"The Council strongly opposes withdrawal from the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), an action that will lead to immediate and sustained losses in sales to our third largest corn customer.
"South Korea is an example of the transformational partnership available to U.S. grain farmers and their global customers through strong trade policy and overseas market development.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced this week it would begin a reexamination of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) by formally notifying South Korea the United States will call a special joint committee meeting to discuss the trade agreement and consider changes.
Recent events in foreign policy and the ongoing conversation about the value of U.S. trade agreements have put a spotlight on South Korea as a close U.S. ally and an important customer for U.S. products, including grains.
South Korea is now the fifth largest market for U.S. agricultural exports, totaling $6.2 billion in purchases in 2016. The country was the fourth largest importer of both U.S. corn and distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) as well as the seventh largest importer of U.S. barley in the 2015/2016 marketing year.