Japan is one of the largest and most loyal markets for U.S. feed grains, often the top purchaser of U.S. corn as well as an important buyer of U.S. sorghum, barley and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). Since opening an office there in 1961 - just one year after the organization’s founding - the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) has worked closely with Japanese grain buyers and end-users to develop their industry to serve increasing demand for meat, milk and eggs. Today, that work is led by Tommy Hamamoto, who discusses the priorities for his office here.
The 2017 U.S. Grains Council (USGC) trade team season is in full swing with more than two dozen teams from around the world scheduled to traverse U.S. farm states throughout the summer and fall.
Exports are brokered across continents, but customers still appreciate the opportunity to talk face-to-face with their suppliers – particularly U.S. farmers.
Japanese diets may not match those of U.S. farmers, but the push for healthy foods in Japan is creating a small and growing high-value market for U.S. food barley.
As the traditional top buyer of U.S. corn, Japan is a critical export market for U.S. farmers. With continued diversification of its sourcing from countries like Argentina and Brazil, however, quality remains a top concern.
In an effort to maintain this important relationship and foster ongoing communication between producers and customers, the U.S. Grains Council's (USGC's) Washington, D.C., office hosted Japanese feed industry leaders and domestic partners for a corn quality meeting on Monday, July 11.
The apparent lack of significant progress between the United States and Japan to resolve market access issues on agriculture products and automobiles is raising some concerns about the prospects of completing the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations ahead of the U.S. elections in November.
In an important win for U.S. barley producers, Japan has indicated that in the next year it will allow heart healthy labeling of food products containing high beta-glucan barley. U.S. research findings have documented heart-healthy attributes of high beta-glucan barley -- such as reduced cholesterol and lowering the risk of coronary heart disease -- and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recognized these claims since 2006.
U.S. and Japanese negotiators finished three intensive days of talks in Tokyo this week without reaching any substantive agreement to resolve differences on automobile issues and access to agricultural products as part of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. At issue is the U.S. effort to secure concessions to liberalize access to Japan's declared sensitive products—rice, wheat, barley, beef, pork, dairy products and sugar.
"The U.S. Grains Council remembers the 1960 'hog lift' to Japan as our founding event," said Council President and CEO Tom Sleight, "and still today, anything that hurts hogs hurts many of our oldest and best customers around the world. The current swine epidemic is a serious matter for many of them, and therefore for us."
- Corn use: feed 75%; starch 24%; other food use 1%.
- #2 import market for U.S. corn; #3 for U.S. barley and #6 for U.S. sorghum in MY 2016.
- Feed grain imports gradually declining to 12-15 MMT/year from 16 MMT/year.
- Japan imported 410,000 MT of U.S. DDGS in MY 2016.
- Dry milling sector is #1 end-user of hard endosperm corn; U.S.