Developing markets for U.S. ethanol involves a complex combination of trade policy and marketing work. Two U.S. Grains Council (USGC) activities this past week aimed to not only provide insights on ethanol policy development with a role for trade, but also exchange information with government officials, traders and even consumers about the environmental, health and economic benefits of increased ethanol use.
Strong educational programming is a critical element of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) strategy to build global demand for U.S. corn, sorghum, barley and value-added products. As part of that effort, USGC recently offered trade schools in three cities across Colombia to provide a farmer-to-final product perspective on U.S. grains.
More than 120 attendees took part in the seminars, gaining insights from farmers, traders and USGC staff on topics including hedging, international freights and consolidation of purchasing pools.
Free trade agreements help provide market access for some of the largest purchasers of U.S. grains and for some smaller but steady buyers. Israel, as the first market with which the United States signed a free trade agreement, is a good example.
U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico have quintupled since the ink dried on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) more than 20 years ago. And Mexico’s animal agriculture and feed manufacturing industries want to keep buying even more U.S. corn, sorghum, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and other products, according to a team of Mexican grain buyers, livestock and feed processing representatives who traveled to Nebraska and Washington, D.C., this week.
With the swearing in of Robert Lighthizer as the new U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on Monday, the United States has its chief negotiator in place to help protect and expand markets for U.S. feed grains and value-added products around the world.
On Thursday, the Trump Administration formally informed Congress it intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Below is a statement from Chip Councell, chairman of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and a farmer on the Eastern Shore of Maryland:
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary (USDA) Sonny Perdue announced Thursday the Department’s plan to reorganize, including to create an undersecretary-level position focused on trade and foreign agricultural affairs.
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.
Join the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and its members in highlighting agricultural exports during World Trade Month this May.