The fourth round of negotiations on a revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) began in Washington, D.C., this week with a flurry of engagement between government and industry players as tensions on all sides appeared to increase.
Trade equals huge success for exports of U.S. feed grains in all forms, particularly to the 20 countries with which the United States has a free trade agreement (FTA).
Exports of feed grains in all forms to FTA partner countries have increased by nearly 24 percent over the last 10 marketing years (2006/2007 to 2015/2016), according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) trade data and analysis by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC).
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.
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.
The U.S.-Korea free trade agreement (FTA), often called KORUS, entered force on March 15, 2012, giving the United States more open access to Korea’s $1 trillion economy and 49 million consumers. Three short years later, this FTA is being heralded as a success by the agriculture industry and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), with U.S. agricultural exports to Korea growing 31.2 percent last year - seven times faster than average agriculture export growth with the rest of the world.