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Taiwan Set on Purchasing US Corn and DDGS

by 5m Editor
25 September 2009, at 7:05am

TAIWAN - The Taiwanese Agricultural Goodwill Mission signed a letter of intent Thursday, 24 September, with the US Grains Council, committing to purchase 7.7 to 10.5 million metric tons, or 303 to 413 million bushels, of US corn in 2010 and 2011.

In addition, 500,000 to 750,000 tons of distiller’s dried grains with solubles, a co-product of US ethanol production will be included in the memorandum. The total value of the intended purchases is estimated to exceed $1 billion. The agreement is part of a longtime partnership between the Council and Taiwan, according to USGC Chairman Rick Fruth.

“Since the first Agricultural Goodwill Mission in 1998, Taiwan has imported more than 44 million tons (1.7 billion bushels) of corn from the United States, worth more than $5 billion dollars for America’s farmers,” said Fruth. “Over the last three decades, Taiwan has grown to become one of our largest customers, importing nearly 4.5 million tons of feed grains last year, of which 85 per cent came from the United States.”

Ken Hobbie, USGC president and CEO, said Taiwan wasn’t always a major buyer of US feed ingredients. “The Council’s office in Taiwan opened its doors in 1973. That year, the country imported a little more than 1 million tons of feeds grains. However, most of it was from suppliers other than the United States. Today, Taiwan purchases more than 85 per cent of its 4.5 million tons of feed grains from US farmers,” said Mr Hobbie.

“We have, in the past, maintained as much as a 99 per cent market share in Taiwan’s coarse grains market.” Goodwill mission leader Dr. Paul M.H. Sun, chairman of The World Vegetable Center and former Minister of Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture, said when it comes to quality and reliability US farmers are unmatched. “We seldom worry about supply because we know the US industry can and will deliver,” said Dr Sun. “I always reassure my partners in Taiwan that we can count on US farmers.”

Also reaffirming trade relations with Taiwan were the Council’s partner organizations, representing every branch of US agriculture: National Grain and Feed Association; North American Export Grain Association; US Soybean Export Council; and US Wheat Associates. Fruth said the long-lasting partnership with Taiwan and other trading partners has enabled US farmers to rest assured that their products are in high demand.

In fact, according to USDA, one in three US farm acres is planted for export and 25 per cent of gross farm income comes directly from exports. After leaving Washington, D.C., many of the Goodwill Mission participants will travel to Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Missouri for field visits and meetings with local organizations and officials.