Asia Subcontinent Exchange Brings U.S. Sellers to Buyers in Booming Region

In the shadows of Mt. Everest, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) recently held the inaugural Asia Subcontinent Trade Exchange as a forum for business networking and deal-making between U.S. sellers and regional buyers.

More than 100 attendees were part of the inaugural event that showcased the nations of South Asia, consisting of Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.

The highlights of the event were several introductory “round-robin” style meet-and-greets, at which U.S.-based suppliers and local buyers and end users could network and interact in a semi-private forum conducive to further business negotiations and commercial interests.

Buyers were divided up into country-specific tables with suppliers rotating around to introduce themselves along with their product offerings. This helped ensure that the sellers, many of whom were visiting the region for the first time, had a chance to meet everyone and learn about the diverse feed industries in South Asia.

The conference also offered an impressive line-up of speakers offering information on topics like the macroeconomic and political effects on trade, supply and demand of global feed grains and the dynamics of the dry bulk freight market.

“Growth drives trade. Trade doesn’t drive growth,” said Emily French of Consiliagra, noting that the tremendous growth rates of many countries in Asia are still the major force in global trade. “However, in a range bound price environment, you have more risk in currency fluctuations than anything else.”

John d’Ancona of Clarksons-Platou Asia Pte Ltd echoed this sentiment, attributing the recent resurgence of the dry bulk market primarily to a surge in import demand of coal from China even while the industry still has too many ships and not enough freight.

This outreach was well-timed to take advantage of a booming market in Southeast Asia with extensive potential for growth in U.S. feed grain sales.

Year-to-date sales of distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) are up more than 630 percent to the region and should eclipse 100,000 MT by the end of the year.

“The emerging and frontier markets of South Asia will be a huge opportunity for the U.S. corn and soy industries in the next decade,” said Kevin Roepke, USGC regional director of South and Southeast Asia.

“Last year alone, we saw India import corn for the first time in a decade and Bangladesh welcome U.S. corn for the first time in history, as did Pakistan with U.S. sorghum. This will be the region to watch in the next ten years.”

More on USGC's work in this region is here