The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced this week it would begin a reexamination of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) by formally notifying South Korea the United States will call a special joint committee meeting to discuss the trade agreement and consider changes.
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.
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.
Ninety-six percent of feed millers in South Korea now include U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) in their rations for the country’s livestock and poultry industries, thanks in part to work started by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) in 2004 to introduce this feed ingredient.
The U.S. Grains Council recently released its 2013/2014 U.S. Corn Harvest Quality Report, which is intended to provide reliable, timely and transparent information on the quality of U.S. corn at harvest. This is the third year the Council has generated this report and the results are highly anticipated by overseas customers. The Council has begun conveying the report's findings of record production, high quality and minor weather-related impacts, to overseas audiences, starting in Taiwan and Korea.
By: Byong Ryol Min, U.S. Grains Council Director in Korea
Korea is a highly sophisticated market with the ability to diversify sourcing and reformulate rations in response to pricing. Following the 2012 drought when U.S. coarse grain prices were uncompetitive, the Korean market therefore responded swiftly with a significant drop in U.S. market share.
By: Byong Ryol Min, U.S. Grains Council director in Korea
The U.S. Grains Council's 2013 Officers Mission heads to Korea, China and Japan, March 18-28, where attendees will visit with key customers and end users, providing details and receiving feedback on the U.S. 2012-13 corn crop.
"Ever since the drought took hold last year, we've been getting questions. It's important to service these customers, present our harvest quality report, listen to their concerns and share our thoughts for the upcoming crop year," said Tom Sleight, USGC president and CEO.
The U.S. Grains Council is preparing for its Officers Mission - along with the National Corn Growers Association - to meet with customers in Japan, Korea and China. USGC Chairman Don Fast says this mission is extremely important for U.S. grains because of competition for these markets from other countries - such as Argentina, Brazil, the Ukraine and India. USGC President and CEO Tom Sleight agrees this mission is critical.